Chapter 6 - Avoiding Adversity

Adversity Can Be Avoided by Obedience

Sin causes adversity. Therefore, much adversity can
be avoided by avoiding sin.

Much of the adversity that we encounter in life is voluntary. Adversity can be avoided by avoiding sin because adversity is the inevitable result of sin, although the consequences of some sins may not be immediately visible.

Besides its natural consequences, all sin causes spiritual death in this life by destroying our relationship with Christ.1 And following the final judgment sin committed during life results in the second death.2 The second death can be avoided by Christ and Christ alone.

Righteousness is not simply doing what seems right or feels right. Righteousness is what God says is right and one learns what righteousness is by reading scripture-hence the immense importance of Scripture. Scripture is not a theological word game; it is the means to a transformation into a lifetime of immense peace, peace that is experienced. Scripture is a pattern of honor and morality superimposed on our life. When we stay within its construct, we are blessed and, if we are believers, we are blessed with the experiential presence of Jesus Christ.3 When we fail to follow the pattern, we venture into sin and depart from the presence of God.

In scripture we find both righteousness and its counterpart, which is wisdom. Scripture is like a flashlight on a dark path at night. It tells us how to avoid pain beforehand by telling us how to avoid sin.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet4

The wisdom of God’s word has saved many from significant pain:

By the word of thy lips, I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.5

And again:

The entrance of thy words giveth light.6

And again:

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor.7

Failure to appreciate the wisdom of scripture has unfortunate consequences:

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.8

One does not have to read much scripture to see how adversity can be avoided by obedience. Much pain, for instance, can be avoided by obeying scriptures such as these:

Do not yoke yourself (in a relationship, a marriage or in partnership) with an unbeliever.9

Do not steal.10

Do not covet (do not permit yourself to strongly desire something that belongs to another-like his wife or her husband).11

Don’t be a fornicator, a homosexual, a thief or a drunkard.12

Don’t be a liar.13

Husbands love your wives14

Wives, submit to your husband and his leadership.15

Don’t become a surety (don’t cosign a loan or promissory note).16

Forgive. Always forgive. Always, always forgive, and never hold a grudge.17

Do not criticize or condemn.18

Love always. Love never fails.19

Don’t injure with words.20

Do not gossip. Scripture equates gossip with murder and it makes no distinction between gossip that is true and gossip that is false: all gossip, whether true or false is sin.21 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy22

Do not associate with a gossip.23

Avoiding adversity generally consists of the use of the same scriptures that foster good relationships:

Be diligent; work hard.24

Don’t be wise in your own eyes.25

A good man obtains favor of the Lord.26 So, strive to be a good man or good woman.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.27 Therefore look to scripture for what is right and what is wrong.

Avoid the results of sin by not committing it.28

In the way of righteousness is life.29 Strive for and grow in righteousness.

A prudent man covers shame.30 Don’t speak of your own shame or the shame of others.

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.31 Be careful of whom you make your companion.

The simple believe every word.32 Test everything by scripture.

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.33 So, go to the fountain and drink.

The fear of the Lord creates strong confidence.34 Fear God and because of this fear, yield to Him and experience what happens when you do.

Scripture teaches us to be just plain smart. For instance, it teaches us to look ahead for the threat to come and avoid it:

A prudent man forseeth the evil and hideth himself: but the simple pass on and are punished.35

It teaches us to protect our good name:

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor than silver and gold.36

It teaches not to be contrary, mischievous person:

Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward. He that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.37

And perhaps most importantly it teaches us to embrace humility:

By humility and fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.38

Humility is the bedrock of practically all virtues. It is the lens that lets one see truth through the cloud of pride.

1. Sins committed by believers destroy their relationship with Christ because the believers' experiential relationship with Christ in this life is contingent upon righteousness (obedience). One cannot continue to sin and enjoy the presence of the savior. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." John 14:21

2. See "Appendix" on page 87

3. John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Meshall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose myself [make Myself known] to him."

4. Psalms 119:105

5. Psalms 17:4

6. Psalm 119:130

7. Proverbs 21:21

8. Proverbs 21:16. Those who are spiritually dead know it.

9. 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness.”

10. Exodus 20:15

11. Exodus 20:17

12. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 “Be not deceived: neither fornicators .... nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, or extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Romans 1:26,27 “God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

13. Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness...” Proverbs 12:22 " Lying lips [are] abomination to the LORD."

14. Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives, even a Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”

15. Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

16. Proverbs 17:18 “A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.”

17. Matthew 18:22 “Then came Peter unto Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but Until seventy times seven.”

18. Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment he judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

19. 1 Corinthians 13:7,8 “[Love] beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [love] never fails.” This scripture teaches that if it fails, it is not really love.

20. James 1:26 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and brideleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”

21. Romans 1:28-30 “God gave them over to a reprobate mind ... being filled with all unrighteousness ... full of envy, murder ... malignity; whisperers [gossips], backbiters, haters of God ...” Gossip (slander) is one of the worst of all sins. Scripture places it on the same level as murder.

22. Psalm 101:5

23. Proverbs 20:19 (NASV)

24. Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise ... a little sleep, a little slumber: so shall thy poverty come ... and thy want as an armed man.”

25. Proverbs 26:12 “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

26. Proverbs 12:2 “A good man obtaineth favor of the Lord, but a man of wicked devices will He condemn.”

27. Proverbs 12:15

28. Proverbs 12:21 KJV reads “There shall no evil happen to the wicked, but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.” The word that is translated “evil” refers to “sorrow that is the harvest and product of sin.” See C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsh, Commentary on the Old Testament , transl. from the German (Eerdman’s Pub. 1975) vol. 9, p. 64

29. Proverbs 12:28 “In the way of righteousness is life and in the pathway thereof, there is no death.”

30. Proverbs 12:16 “A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”

31. Proverbs 14:14 “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”

32. Proverbs 14:15 “The simple believe every word, but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” This proverb applies to scripture as well as life in general; a close look proves that scripture is reliable and that it is all true.

33. Proverbs 14:27 “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”

34. Proverbs 14:26 “The fear of the Lord is strong confidence...” Fearing God and (therefore) yielding and obeying scripture creates a history of wise decisions, each one of which instills understanding and confidence in scripture.”

35. Proverbs 22:3

36. Proverbs 22:1

37. Proverbs 22:5

38. Proverbs 22:4