Consequential Adversity: 3 Ways We Paint Ourselves Into A Corner

In May my wife and I spent a Saturday driving around New York City showing our son where we used to hang out. After lunch we found a parking ticket on our car. I was perplexed since we weren’t parked very long. We read the ticket and discovered I parked too close to a fire hydrant. I had seen the hydrant but thought I was far enough away. I paced it off, convinced the ticket was wrong, but it wasn’t. My ignorance cost me $115.

Consequential adversity is when something adverse happens to us as a result of our own actions. It’s common to blame God, Satan and others for what is only our fault. Let’s examine the different causes of consequential adversity, what effects they have upon us and what our response to them should be.

Consequential Adversity: It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities. Josiah Stamp, from izquote.com

3 Causes of Consequential Adversity

  1. Ignorance or negligence. Doing something we don’t realize is wrong such as parking too close to a fire hydrant or leaving your purse on top of your car as you drive away.
  2. Unwise choices. Intentionally doing something we know isn’t best such as eating food we shouldn’t or running up credit card debt.
  3. Sin. Willfully disobeying God.

Each of these have consequences that flow naturally from our actions.

3 Results of Consequential Adversity

  1. Ignorance or negligence often have unintended costly consequences, a parking ticket or losing your purse. Sometimes God is gracious and the purse stays on the car. A friend of mine used to say, “God takes care of idiots and children.” Sometimes that’s me!
  2. Unwise choices frequently have painful consequences. A diabetic eating too much sugar throws blood glucose out of whack. Overcharging your credit cards results in long-term debt. Matthew 7:1-2
  3. Sin has many negative consequences including:
    • being separated from fellowship with God. 1 John 1:6-7
    • harming yourself. The scars of sin are always with us. Titus 1:15
    • harming others. We never sin in secret. Numbers 14:18
    • losing your peace. Isaiah 57:21
    • leading to more sin. Romans 1:18-23
    • opening yourself to attacks from the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
    • punishment. Gal. 6:7-8
    • experiencing eternal death if we don’t trust Jesus as our Savior. Romans 6:23

3 Proper responses to consequential adversity

  • Ignorance and negligence. Pray to God for wisdom, He will give it to you. James 1:5
  • Unwise choices. Pray for wisdom and purpose to seek help from God and others to help you change. Purpose to grow in your faith. Proverbs 17:17; 2Peter 3:17-18
  • Sin. Confess your sin and return to God 1 John 1:9

A WARNING ABOUT HIDDEN SINS: If you haven’t yet paid the consequences for your actions, you’d better wise up. God has been gracious to you, but at some point your actions will catch up with you! 2 Peter 3:9

If you are walking in righteousness and no one seems to notice, God does. Keep it up! Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Hosea 10:12

What have you learned about the consequences of your actions? How have you learned to avoid them? Please leave a question or comment below.