featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Let adversity refine not define

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

When difficulty happens in life how do you respond? Yes, there are several emotions we deal with and process through. Processing our feelings is an important practice and an opportunity to strengthen our emotional health. Yet there is another opportunity when we face struggle, difficulty, or adversity. It is to let those times refine us.

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when they has stood the test the will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.

Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

When gold or silver are refined, they are put under fire. That heat draws the impurities to the surface and are burned off. The precious metals are now better, stronger, and more of what they truly are. For us, we have a choice as the heat of adversity comes to us. We can let it move us to some self-reflection or let define us.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

In a relationship where conflict keeps happening, to reflect by asking how am I contributing to the issues? In a work situation where my colleagues seem to avoid me, it is to consider how my demeanor and actions may push people away. It’s to look inward and humbly reflect on our own actions and character. Maybe we are being a bit too self-focused, not as diligent as we should, too judgmental, not as kind, not as caring. If we just blame or treat others as we have been treated, we are letting that adversity define us.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

In our times of struggle God says He will be with us.

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you (God) are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I (God) will be with you;and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Yes, life would be great without any struggles, and one day God will deal with all that causes pain (see Revelation 21:4), but for now there will be trials, difficulties, losses, hardships, struggles, and the horrible fires of adversity. In this we have a choice: why not let adversity refine and not define. What will you choose?

Church can be good place to seek God and get help in times of adversity. If you do not already have a church to attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. We are a fun, welcoming church and would love for you to connect with us! Our website has all the information you need for times and locations of all our Sunday gatherings. You can also find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.

Seeking to be refined by adversity along with you,

Mike McKay, Lead Pastor, Neighborhood Church