updated 9/30/20 – many additions and clarifications
Heb 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]:
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
The trial of faith is the key to understand how to walk in the victory that faith assures and to live in God’s promises. Faith starts after hearing the Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It is at the trial of that faith where faith most often meets its death. We have failed to teach about the trial of faith which explains why there is so little faith in the church today.
The answer has been in plain sight, but natural-minded teachers have taught unbelief and used natural reasoning to explain why faith in God’s promises does not work and is not supposed to work. The church has been teaching and being led by things that are seen, while the realm of God and His kingdom is about things not seen. Walking by faith glorifies God and is the only way to please Him, Yet we do not talk about faith.
There is much to discover about faith, too much to discuss here. But I will start with the essentials.
My objective is to show the way to victory in our trial of faith and that there is no victory without a trial of faith.
Most teachers and saints want to focus on the promises of power we have been given over the works of the devil. Yes, there is a multitude of promises and commands that say we must take authority over the works of darkness. And to please God, we MUST obey those commands to conquer darkness. So, why don’t we? Most avoid trying to answer that question, but it is answerable and obedience to those commands is easily in our grasp. But it requires a different understanding than is preached today.
But, obtaining the promises can not be divorced from the conditions of receiving those promises and power. That is what few have considered and why so few promises are realized.
We have been GIVEN promises, they are ours for the taking
- 2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
being partakers of the divine nature – could there be a greater incentive?
- 2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
- Ga 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ
A great example of possessing the promises GIVEN us is the taking of the Promised Land by Joshua.
God had GIVEN the land to Israel. It was theirs. He had guaranteed victory. But it was infested and controlled by powerful forces. The people of Israel had to do WARFARE to conquer what was GIVEN to them. We are told we can just claim the promises, we can, but not without warfare. which starts with the trial of faith.
God would not let them possess it if there was any doubt that they could conquer it. The first set of spies agreed that the land was as God had said. But they looked at the enemies and saw giants instead of looking at what God had promised. They failed the trial of faith because they saw with there eyes and used that reality to decide instead of the surer promises of God. They thought that the battle was theirs to make happen instead of God bringing all victory.
- Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
- Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Faith is always the way the promises are possessed by us and what the fight and trial of faith is about. Are we slothful, expecting God to do what He told us to do? Do we believe God, or what our eyes and senses tell us what reality is? Do we believe the battle is the Lord’s or is it ours? It is ours to fight and to face the realities of the world, flesh, and devil, but it is His to win. He never calls us to a battle to lose it.
That makes some saints think they can merely say a simple prayer and God will do the warfare without them. That is not the testimony of scripture.
Israel not permitted to go in and possess the land in spite of the fact that Joshua and Caleb were confident that the giants and walls were no obstacle to God. In spite of the fact that conquering the land was the will and desire of God. Joshua and Caleb passed the trial of faith, but God wants the entire nation/church to enter in and will prevent faithful servants because of the unbelief of others.
Joshua and Caleb were the only adult men that we’re allowed to possess the land after God had the unbelieving generation pass away. They saw the land and the obstacles as God saw them.
We must remember that each of the soldiers was well aware of the giants and the walls, but were willing to put their lives at stake that God’s promises were true. The giants nor the wall had not changed. The only thing that had changed was that they had decided to trust God, not evidence of the eyes. They looked not at the seen, but what God sees. Their faith was constantly tried and tested, and any sin in the camp was met with death. Only a people intent on ridding the camp of sin can possess the land God has promised. Only those whose eyes are focused on the unseen can defeat that which is unseen.
- 2Co 7:1 ¶ Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
That is one major difference between the church of today and those who know the reward of believing what God has said. These soldiers fit the description of Jesus’ disciples
THE PLACE OF DISCIPLESHIP
Today, we neglect or reject Jesus’ definition of a disciple: a very high bar, and possible only in and through God for those who have committed themselves to it.
- Lu 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
- Lu 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
- Lu 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.e
We casually read the scripture and think that all promises are to any saint. We choose to neglect the fact that the greatest promises were made to the disciples, not to the general crowds who followed Him.
And, beyond that, He said that all promises were dependent on faith. It seems obvious to me that until we fulfill the conditions of being true disciples and believe without doubting (seeing how God sees) that none of those promises will be ours. The promise of salvation was only based on the most basic of faith and one needs only the smallest of faith to be saved.
Yet most have simply said that all is ours if we only believe. We have lowered the bar on what a disciple so far that we no longer have a bar. We also are not doing the signs of a disciple and can not nor do His command to go into all the world and make disciples. We can not produce something until we have fulfilled the conditions set for by Jesus.
The great promises of power and authority were spoken to disciples, They are for disciples, not for Laodiceans.
God may give Laodiceans a taste of that power in hopes of showing that He has something far better for them than their own comfort and ease.
God does not and will not allow any to mix His kingdom with the world’s ways and present it as His gospel.
And we no longer preach the gospel of the kingdom, but the gospel of the cross (Which is only the first essential step of entering the kingdom of God), and most have mixed that gospel with that of Humanism. The church has become a group of “what is in it for me”, and that defines Humanism, not Christianity. Christianity is about others, and us laying down our lives to see them progress in the kingdom. It is a total focus and allegiance to the Kingdom of God and becoming strangers and pilgrims to the nations we live in. We may get them through the door of salvation, but then we turn the life in the kingdom into obeying those rules. More on that in other articles.
But the trial of faith proves whether one believes, or has mere mental assent.
God accomplishes all in and for His kingdom by faith, and from Abel, to Abraham, to Jesus and the disciples, all started by a trial of their faith.
We are constantly called to make hard choices between our own interests and the interests of God. Friendship with God IS enmity against Gdo
Yet, we omit the trial of faith and do not speak of it.
Yes, the promise of power and authority over sickness, demons, and spiritual wickedness is there for our taking. But there are conditions that we have ignored.
Before we can put that power and authority into practice, God tests our faith and commitment to His truth and His seeing. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ways.
We forget that, by Jesus’ example, did His works for the benefit of others. His greatest triumph came by what looked like His greatest defeat.
The TRIAL OF FAITH is a most prevalent message in all of scriptures, and ALWAYS precedes works of faith.
Yet few have learned or benefitted from understanding it (or are seeking to understand it)
In this post, I offer many scriptures to help us understand God’s purpose and our benefits through these TRIAL OF FAITH.
Other articles on this site also address the topics of entering into the fullness of Christ and His word today through His saints.
I have never heard such a message as this in over 40 years as a Christian, just bits and pieces, but not a more complete message. I thank God that He has allowed this feeble attempt to delve into this incredible mystery.
TRIAL OF FAITH
AS HE IS, SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD 1Jo 4:17
Mr 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught.
- We avoid suffering and hate to be thought of as being nothings and of no use to man or God – ego runs deep.
- It is only when we are willing to set at naught, to have no power or reputation that Christ’s imparts His true power.
Joh 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
- The purpose of suffering is to cleanse us from all that is not of Him so that nothing interferes with Him as He does His word through us.
- The less we have us our old nature and mind, the more effective we (through Him) are in our fight against principalities and powers.
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered ;
- And so do we
1Pe 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered , he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
- “even hereunto were ye called”, we are in Him and Christ is yet suffering through His body, whom we are. This is part of our calling, if we are faithful to our calling, we will suffer.
- This is how we are to handle trials, persecutions, wrongful sufferings
- we can ask like Paul and Jesus did that if there be another way, then give it to us, nevertheless, His will be done.
- This is NOT giving satan or demons authority over us, no more than Jesus gave satan authority over Him in His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. It was those very sufferings that brought victory over satan.
- According to scripture, it is also our sufferings which bring about the defeat of satan in the lives of others.
- It is a display that regardless of what satan can do to us (like Job) that we will not falter in our faith or duty. It was through death that Jesus totally overcame the powers of darkness, and so it is with us,
- We also have confidence that God’s purpose is to perfect us and conform us to the image of His dear Son.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
- We are never alone and Jesus is sharing in our every suffering. Jesus considered the persecution of Paul toward believers as persecuting Jesus, Himself. And so it will ever be.
Lu 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
- Ought not we suffer these things and enter into His glory?
- Our salvation is based on His obedience, and He states that suffering is part and parcel of being a disciple.
THE TRIAL OF OUR FAITH
Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
- That is always the result of refinement when we embrace it and see it from His hand. If we want to be perfect in Him, suffering must be our refiner.
- Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him – is ever the cry of a faithful saint. Like Job, they know that everything is ultimately in the hand of our loving God who works all things together for good.
De 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or not.
- He had to try them for only the faithful can enter His promises (the Promised Land for the Jews)
- and that is the same method He uses for us so that we can operated in His promises and conquer all the devices of the devil.
- Now we are to keep the commandments of Jesus, but He will try us before He will bestow power to us to “bring to nought the things that are by the things not seen” 1Co 1:28
Ps 66:10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
- It takes great heat to purify silver, and the silver loses its normal solid state and becomes something it is not in its normal state.
- So, too, do we become in the trial
Pr 17:3 ¶ The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
- It is not a gentle or comfortable process, but it always accomplishes its purpose unless we beg for relief. But we are only postponing such trials and cheating us and Him of the glory He wants to reveal in us and through us.
Zec 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
- The promise is THROUGH the fire, not FROM the fire.
- The promise is refinement
- the promise is deliverance after refinement
- Do we truly want to be His people? (I will say, It is my people)
Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
- Only those who have allowed themselves to be tried BEFORE the day of His coming will stand when He appears). Do not be like the five foolish bridesmaids.
Mal 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
- Going through God’s purifying fire is the only way we may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
- Yes, we are righteous in Jesus, and that righteous is proved true when we allow Him to purge our flesh of all things contrary to Him.
- We find just how much we love the world, the flesh, and the devil and find out whether we truly love the Lord our God with ALL our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
- God will go to any length to test our faith and purify our allegiance.
- Nothing must be more important to us than obeying Him
- He will touch our dearest desire, He may even ask us to sacrifice a promise He gave to us
- We are disqualified from being all we are meant to be by the degree we refuse to bey Him and ALL ways. We must always choose Him over us or all we hold dear.
1Pe 1:6 ¶ Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
- Because we may be in heaviness through manifold temptations does not mean that we are not fighting the fight of faith. It only proves just how great a hold the world the flesh and the devil has a hold on us.
- It is only asking if we truly love God with our ALL. And each trial demands an answer to that question. Our only acceptable answer is Lord, “I choose You”, even in the midst of our pain and love for other lesser things.
CALLED TO SUFFER
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
- We preach only belief in Christ, not suffering for His sake, even though the scriptures are very clear that that MUST be the way of the cross and His resurrection.
- Re-read scripture and you will realize how often suffering as a saint is mentioned by Jesus and by the disciples. It was constant.
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
- We say we want to reflect the glory of the Lord, and Paul tells us how that is accomplished.
- When all our dross is removed, then His glory can show through.
Ac 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
- As with Paul, so with us if we are to minister in His name.
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
- Again Peter says “the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon” those who are “partakers of Christ’s sufferings”
- Jesus and the apostles understood that suffering would be a necessary part of a church that moved in power and in truth.
- Are we willing to pay the price (in our flesh) so that the spirit of glory and of God rests upon us?
Ac 5:41 they, indeed, then, departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that for his name they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour,
- we tend to focus and worry about the dishonor and fear it will destroy our witness for Christ. They focused on Christ and His kingdom and His agenda and rejoiced. Such persecutions prove that satan sees us as a danger to his kingdom. Those who are not a danger to his kingdom, he will pester but not persecute. For persecution causes us to lean on Christ more completely for we have no other hope.
Php 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
- Our sacrifice is always meant to be for the sake of others.
- A true minister will rejoice, like Paul, when he realizes what his sacrifice accomplishes for others.
Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
- Who teaches such things today?
- Could that be a big reason why the churches are so weak and do not represent the kingdom of God?
- What minister embraces or believes that truth and gives himself over for the benefit of the church?
Heb 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
- Remembering former battles of affliction and the Lord’s deliverance will help us stand strong when a new battle tempts us to doubt God’s faithfulness.
Heb 10:33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
- This is a recurring state of the church of Jesus Christ. It should be the testimony of all who name the Name of Jesus Christ.
Heb 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
- We trust in our goods, but they saw that it was a small price to pay to know Him. Satan took Job’s goods, yet he trusted in God.
- In practice, we seem to devalue the substance we will have in heaven. We allow the reality of this world (which will be destroyed) and value the things that are meaningless in the world to come.
- We need to live for the world to come, an eternal world, not a world that is passing.
Heb 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
- Even though satan seems he is winning (as he did at the crucifixion) he is only ensuring his defeat.
- We must not give up our confidence that God is King and Sovereign over all and that He is accomplishing great purifications in us while we refuse to believe that satan is having any victory)
Heb 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
- That is ALWAYS the case. It may come late or after death, but God does not waste anything.
- Nor does any of His promises fail, in the least.
Heb 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
- He was accused of being too late for healing Lazarus. But His “delay”, even though it brought great sorrow and disillusionment to Lazarus’ loved ones, was meant to show a greater glory and power of Jesus. It may seem He is late in our trial, but if so, it is always for His glory. Are you willing to be a Lazarus?
- It seemed that He had forsaken and disappointed Joseph as he lingered in that prison. But in that time, God was fashioning him for the position he would have in His time.
- Are your pain and circumstances more important than bringing Him glory?
- Satan can take nothing away or cause anything to happen that has not been approved of God. Satan means it for evil, God means it for good.
- And God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The purpose of all trials is to show you where your love falls short and where your true calling is.
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
- We must believe what God has said in spite of what our eyes or bodies tell us. His truth is greater than those of our senses and any situation that seems to call God a liar.
- Only faith pleases God.
- we teach that worship and praise does, but in scripture those things happen after some act or celebration of the results of faith and seeing God do what He said He would do.
Heb 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul
- Drawing back, in part, can lead to drawing back to perdition. Do not give satan a foothold.
- This is a truth that we can take hold of as a promise, but all promises result in the fight of faith to purify that faith and cause it to overcome.
Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
- This verse speaks of those who did not see the deliverance they sought while alive as men. But God considers them heroes of faith because nothing dissuaded them from trusting God.
- Faithfully fighting the faith is our part, leaving the results to Him is His part.
- He will never put us in a battle that is too big for Him to handle.
- The world is not worthy of such sacrifices by the saints, just as it was not worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- Seems that the greater the sufferings, the greater benefit and power we have in the kingdom of God in the lives of other people. It is as if we give up our benefits so that God can bestow those benefits on others.
1Th 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
- This is one proof that we are a true church and true saints.
- The churches were known for their suffering. Why are not our “churches”?
- We don’t suffer in America (yet) because we have been unwilling to speak the truth and be a threat to the kingdom of darkness. We make satan yawn and laugh at us.
The BLESSINGS AND BENEFITS OF SUFFERING
We have already shown many of the benefits, but since such teaching has been avoided in churches, one can not say too much about it.
Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the LorWed, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth [cleanses], and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth [cleanses] not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened [cleansed] [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
- Cleansing/chastening is never pleasant to the flesh, but we are to kill the deeds of the flesh and be alive unto God – Ro 6:11, 13.
- The Father’s chastening is the process of removing all from us that is hindering us from being totally effective for Him
- Ro 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
- 2Co 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. This verse explains why the church has no life, we refuse to be cleansed and delivered unto the death of our pleasures and worldliness. Even our sense of what pleasures and worldliness means have been dulled.
- The ultimate purpose of God is to transform us into the image of God and make us completely one with Him. Chastening is that process by which He accomplishes it.
1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
- It may seem as if the trials and sufferings are often a great fire, and they are. They purge us of things contrary to God, strengthen our faith, and are the means to power over darkness.
- Knowing that, causes us to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory instead of complaining and accuse God.
Ac 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
- That is the only way to enter the kingdom of God. Why do not we teach that?.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
- We all say we want to know and be part of His glory. Well, this is God’s method for participating in it. There is no other method.
And what were those light afflictions?
- 2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
- Note that many of these things we would attribute to natural circumstances and not trials of faith. Everything that happens to a saint is a trial of faith.
- 2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
- Trials and persecutions cause us to have the power of Christ rest upon us and to be weak in ourselves and strong in Him
- He has no other method
- Our focus is not to be on the trials, but in the glory God gets when we value His ways and His kingdom above our personal comfort and freedom
- We are taught by the world and the church that weakness is a bad thing. But the strength and power of Christ can most clearly be known in our weakness. God will not give any credit for results to the power in man.
- Trials and persecutions cause us to have the power of Christ rest upon us and to be weak in ourselves and strong in Him
Re 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
- The devil has no real power. He can only affect temporal issues. Do we live for temporal issues or eternal issues?
- Satan may seem to win victories, but true victory is seen in the light of eternity. Satan seemed the winner at the cross, but it was the cross that defeated him.
- Is a crown of life worth the price of enduring a few “light afflictions” [2Co 4:17] in this life?
Ro 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
- glorying in tribulations is a trait of those walking in the Spirit who reckon themselves dead to sin, to the world, the lusts of the flesh, and the devil
- Modern theology teaches us to hate and run from tribulation and that it is not from God and He does not approve of it, while scripture says it is a great benefit and essential to His maturing us. What could be greater than having the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts?
Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
- This is the difference between those who walk after the Spirit compared to those who walk after the flesh. They count it all joy, for they are not their own and are fixed on the purposes of God instead of their flesh and comfort.
- The entire point of trials (sufferings, injustice, etc) is for the trial of our faith (which God considers more precious than gold). It is being able to endure the assaults of satan and grow stronger in our battle against him.
- Satan wants us to lose hope and faith, but faith ignores what he is attempting to do to us, and focused on what Christ did for the world and that satan is defeated, totally, and completely. The only thing he can do is to deceive us into thinking God is not faithful or has not power or interest in our trials.
2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
- Our life is not our own, it is to be lived and given for the benefit of others
- Who is willing to be afflicted for the consolation and salvation of others? To be true ministers of the gospel of the kingdom, that is the requirement.
Ga 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
- We never suffer in vain for the cause of Christ unless we retreat into unbelief or the law.
2Ti 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
- It is because of the work God has chosen us to do that we suffer. We endure the sufferings in faith and patience, just as Jesus did His sufferings.
- Paul knew that if he compromised the truth that the devil would pull back.
- Our focus is to be eternal, not temporal, Spiritual, not on the world or our flesh
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:e may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
- Suffering makes us worthy of the kingdom of God
- In the end, all that oppressed and tormented you will suffer a far greater eternal suffering than they have inflicted on you. We do nothing but resist the evil one and he will flee, and it is God that takes vengeance, not us.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
- It is far more blessed to know His comfort in the midst of trials and suffering than to have not trials or sufferings.
Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
- And we are to sacrifice our lives to Him
Heb 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
- We are taught that it is NEVER God’s will that we should suffer unless we sin. Scripture says otherwise
1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
- We all desire to be set free from sin, suffering in the flesh is God’s method to bring that about
1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
- God’s will is that suffering produces godliness and effectiveness in our life, He does not torture His sons.
1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
- And that is always God’s purpose in bringing or allowing our suffering.
2Co 81 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
- How unlike our teachings of today
2Co 6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
- Oh that ministers of today would approve themselves to be of God in the same way
- Sorrow and joy are not mutually exclusive
- Sorrow should always give rise to joy for we know that He makes all things work together for good for us.
Is there anything more crucial to talk about and understand than faith?
Everything in the kingdom of God is based on faith, even our salvation is by faith.
Yet faith is the most neglected topic in Christianity as proven by the weak state of saints and the church. “The just shall live by faith” gives a good explanation as to why there is as much sin in the saints as in the world.
Adam and Eve’s sin was because of faith in what the serpent said and not in what God said. Faith stands at the apex of God’s relationship with man.
Why do evangelical churches seldom speak of faith? Why do they leave it to the cults to speak of and misrepresent? The charismatics/Pentecostals speak of it, but do not do the works because they have not known its ways, except rudimentarily.
I think it is blasphemy to discuss whether any of His promises are true for today. It is the voice of the serpent saying the same thing over and over again. “has God said?”
How dare we question what He has said. How dare we follow Adam and Eve’s fatal sin?
Scripture mentions NOTHING about the discontinuance of any promise (except the ones fulfilled by Jesus Christ) until we see Him in glory. It is man’s natural mindedness based on his senses and what he can see as well as his trust in the natural things of this world that brings this blasphemy. We are to be supernatural minded, that is God’s realm and the realm where He accomplishes all things for us and is then revealed in our natural realm.
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea],
and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are:
Rather than seek to understand how to walk in faith and obtain those promises, we find fault with them and question and challenge them.
Mt 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
For most Christians, those promises are not settled or YEA and AMEN. even though scripture says they are as certain as His word is.
Lu 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh,
shall he find faith on the earth?
PROMISES OBTAINED BY FAITH
(things we refuse to believe)
- Mt 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
- Mr 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
- Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
- Mr 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
- Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
- I know of NO ONE who believes the ANY THING part.
- Ro 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
- We don’t act like it, we don’t teach about it. We only know a little about it because it is spoken of in regards to the door of salvation. But it is the whole of salvation, not just the means of entry.
- Mt 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
- Rather, we teach things like pre-trib rapture where God removes us instead of keeps us THROUGH it, like all other times in the scriptures. We teach that our gospel should make friends and cause us to be well-liked. Scripture says the opposite. We spend our time trying to make the message of the cross or gospel to not offend, but the cross and gospel is an offense [Ga 5:11 1Pe 2:8] and those who present it as intended will be hated.
- Mt 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
- Yes, He is speaking of church people
- Mt 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
- Most believe that everything supernatural is of God and do not test the spirits. Word of Faith and New Apostalic Reformation heresies abound because of that thinking.
These links are the best I know of to explain it
John Piper What Is God Accomplishing in My Suffering?
World Challenge What’s in Between Ask and Receive?