Challenges Of Life Overview

Introduction

In this study, we are going to look at an overview of life’s challenges and we are going to Scripture to help us deal with them. There are many hurting people in the world who are struggling with loss and guilt. There are many angry people in the world who are filled with bitterness.

I want to remind us that many of life’s challenges which we face today, did not exist in the beginning.

Loneliness

For many people, one of life’s challenges is loneliness. Loneliness is the kid at the new school, who doesn’t know anybody. It is the girl in her house on another Friday night when nobody has called.

I had a job in a factory building furniture and I have never met cruder people in my life. And there were some people in that factory, who honestly enjoyed making me blush.

They would think up, how crude and vulgar they could be, just because they laughed when I got embarrassed. And I remember thinking, I haven’t got a single friend in this whole place.

In the beginning, we see that God understands loneliness, that’s why He created Eve for Adam, Genesis 2:18 / Genesis 2:21. Man had all the animals to have fellowship with and he even had an incredible relationship with God, but even at that, God said, ‘it is not good that he is alone.’

There are going to be events in life which we know are coming that are going to be times of loneliness, but then there are going to be some things that we don’t know are coming.

It could be a divorce, and suddenly we are by ourselves. It could be a sudden illness and now our life is dramatically changed by our new handicap. Or I do not know of an adjustment, which is harder to make, than losing our husband or wife.

God understands loneliness and we are promised over and over again that we are not alone, Hebrews 13:5. We might feel lonely, but we are not alone because Jesus promises to be with us always, Matthew 28:30.

Guilt

For many people, one of life’s challenges is guilt. How many of us are struggling to forgive ourselves for something we did or said years ago? We all have skeletons in our closets, and we wish they would just stay there.

Maybe we are out walking on our own or watching television, when all of a sudden, we remember something, we did years ago and start to feel ashamed. We begin to feel the guilt and shame of what we did, and it is overwhelming.

Notice when Adam and Eve were created, they were both naked and felt no shame, Genesis 2:25. It wasn’t until after they sinned, that they realised they were naked, and covered themselves with fig leaves to cover their shame, Genesis 3:7.

We need to understand that shame is not a part of how we are designed to live by God, that’s why God made garments of skin to cover their shame, Genesis 3:21.

That’s why God promises that our guilt and shame have already been dealt with at the cross, Hebrews 12:2. Jesus didn’t just take our penalty for sin on the cross with Him, He took all the guilt and all the shame that ever needs to accompany our sin upon himself on the cross.

That’s why Christians need to trust in the cross of Christ, we need to trust God when He says, ‘There is now no condemnation for Christians’. Romans 8:1.

Fear And Worry

For many people, two of life’s challenges are fear and worry. How many times have you heard someone say that they are worried sick? How many times have you heard someone say, I’m afraid of what’s happening in the world today?

Fear and worry are a part of many people’s lives, but we need to understand that God never wanted us to experience them. Adam and Eve didn’t experience fear or worry in the beginning with God because there was nothing to be fearful of or worried about. God placed them in an incredible garden and told them to take care of it and He provided everything they needed to live.

Fear and worry didn’t exist until Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. It was then that they hid from God because they were frightened and worried about what God would do to them, Genesis 3:8-10. Instead of trusting that God would always take care of their needs, they listened to Satan’s lie.

Notice that Satan told Eve when she ate from the tree that she would become like God, Genesis 3:5. Did you know that’s exactly why Satan was thrown out of heaven in the first place?

He wanted to make himself like God, Isaiah 14:14. In other words, He more or less says to Eve, ‘Why rely on God to take care of your needs when you can just rely on yourself?’

The reason people are frightened and worried about what tomorrow might bring is because they want to be God. They want to be in total control of their own lives and their destiny.

What is your biggest fear and worry? Maybe you are afraid of losing your job and not being able to pay the bills. Maybe you are afraid of losing your health or your wealth.

Maybe it is something you did in the past and you’re afraid that what you did might come out and you’ll lose your friends and family. Maybe you have gossiped about someone, and you are afraid that others will find out and you’ll lose your reputation.

It shouldn’t surprise us that many people are struggling with their mental health because, for many, they are trying to control something they have no control over.

We are not born fearful, or worriers, fear and worry are learned habits and since they are learned that means they can also be unlearned.

When fear and worry knock on our doors tomorrow, we don’t have to let them in, just because we let them in, in the past. We might as well give our fears and worries over to someone who can do something about tomorrow because we can’t, Psalm 55:22.

Talk to God about it and turn them over to Him and trust Him with today. When we pray, we receive the greatest cure for fear and worry, we experience the touch of the eternal, a supernatural peace, Philippians 4:6-7.

God is going to respond to our prayers when we talk to Him about our concerns. God didn’t want Adam and Eve to live in fear with a whole load of worries and He still doesn’t want us living with them today.

Loss

For many people, one of life’s challenges is loss. We can talk about the loss of a job as being very unsettling. We can lose our health and some of you have dealt with that or are dealing with that right now.

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to selling life insurance, the advert or the salesperson talks in terms of possibly, perhaps, should happen, in the event of?

Do you not find it upsetting to hear salesmen or read adverts that talk about life’s only certainty, as if it were just a possibility? When in actual fact, death is a reality, Ecclesiastes 3:2.

Remember God warned Adam not to eat from the tree because if he did, he would die, Genesis 2:16-17. When Adam sinned, God cursed him and told him he would return to the ground, Genesis 3:19.

And when Adam sinned, death was introduced into the world, Romans 5:12. All of us will have or will have to deal with the loss of a loved one.

The good news is that God provided a way for us to live forever. He promised that the head crusher, Genesis 3:15, Jesus would come and remove the death penalty our sins deserve.

The good news is that although we deserve to die because of our sins, Christ died for us so that we can have eternal life, Romans 6:23 / 1 Corinthians 15:22.

The good news is, when loss comes into our lives, the Christian can grieve uniquely from the world. That is one of the first things people noticed about the early Christians.

They noticed their faith; they noticed their incredible love for each other but one of the first things that was noticed about the first Christians was that they had a very unique way to grieve.

A man named Aristotle was trying to explain why the Christian religion was growing so rapidly. He said, ‘This is something about them that is most unique. Any righteous man among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they accompany his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another, nearby.’

Now, that’s not how the world knows grieving. We grieve first in the hope that Christ has conquered death, 1 Corinthians 15:56-57, and there is going to be a reunion of all the saints of God, 1 Thessalonians 4:14. The hope that even in loss, there’s gain, if you know Christ.

Anger And Bitterness

For many people, two of life’s challenges are anger and bitterness. The man or woman going through a painful divorce can easily become angry and full of bitterness. The child who is being bullied at school can easily become angry and bitter with those around them. A man who has lost their job can get angry with their boss but go home and be bitter with his wife and kids.

Remember the emotion of anger itself isn’t sinful, it is what you do with that anger that could lead to sin. There was nothing wrong with Cain being angry but notice that God points out to Cain that sin is crouching at his door, sin desires to have him and he must rule over it, Genesis 4:6-7. Sadly, as we know, Cain’s anger turned into bitterness and led him to go on and murder his brother, Genesis 4:8.

This is one reason we shouldn’t let our anger control us. If bitterness has a chance to take root in our hearts, it can lead to us to hurting those around us, Hebrews 12:15. Cain’s problem is that he let the sun go down when he was still angry, Ephesians 4:26.

The Bible says the best way to deal with your anger is to deal with it immediately and radically.

It is my prayer that before we go to the doctor for a prescription to help us deal with any of these challenges, we first go to the Great Physician to see what He prescribes for us.

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