27 September, 2012

Throne of Tribulation(?)

I have heard it said, seen it written, and even addressed it with people in various ways before. However, more depth is been shown to me, and I see that this issue must be addressed again - both for my sake and for others.

God is not the author of our rough patches, our difficulties, our sicknesses, our financial struggles, or any other tragedy in our lives.

Maybe you have seen something similar to what I have. It is often found on social media outlets: where someone posts responses to their hardships, saying things like, "Lord, I know that this trial is from Your throne, and that I will be better for it in the end." Or perhaps you have heard the words from someone who has dealt with, or is dealing with, a crisis of some kind. They say phrases like, "God decided I needed a trial," or, "The Lord decided it wasn't yet my time for deliverance/provision/healing/etc." These phrases sound good, religiously speaking. However, the are Biblically inaccurate. In fact, they are lies that contradict the very words of Jesus Himself. They make Him a hypocrite.

Every church website has the same sentence listed on their "beliefs" page: "we believe the Bible is the supreme and final authority of the believer." If that is the case, then let's go to the Word and find out what the Lord has to say concerning the tests and trials of life.

First of all, I am in no way saying that life should be easy for Christians. No one says that. Not even those TV preachers many Christians can't stand say that. It is not true and it is not taught by anyone. The question is: what do you believe about trying situations in life? Jesus put us on the alert for tough times: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Jesus has made it known that, in the world, we will have troubles. But, He has already given us His peace. When do we walk in and experience that peace? When we stay in Him. So, if we are going through times of distress and we are not experiencing peace, we know that we have broken off fellowship with our Master. The peace is in Him, so get there.

What I want you to realize is that Jesus isn't harming anyone. John 16:33 in the Amplified Bible makes that very clear: "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]" No question about it: Jesus isn't responsible for our hard times. He has empowered us to overcome them all, and He fully expects to do just that.

I know that James 1:2 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials." I'm sure that verse went through your head already. However, we need to set the record straight on what is really going on in this verse. The word translated "trial," is often translated "temptation" in many translations of the Bible. I pulled out my concordance and looked up the Greek word used in this verse. It is "peirasmos."  It comes from the Greek word "peirazo," which means to test. This word "peirasmos" is defined in my concordance as, "a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline, or provocation); by implication adversity." It is a word that is translated, "temptation," "test," or "trial." I know this is way more "heady" than most people go for when reading a random blog, but it is very important that we get this. This Greek word for temptation is used in each of the following verses:

~Matthew 6:13 (The Lord's Prayer) -> "And do not lead us into temptation (peirasmos), but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

~1Corinthians 10:13 -> "No temptation (peirasmos) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (pierazo) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (peirasmos) will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

~James 1:2 -> "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (peirasmos)."

~James 1:12 -> "Blessed is the man who endures temptation (peirasmos); for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 

Isn't it interesting that Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father to keep us out of the very situations that many Christians claim He brings upon us all? Jesus told us that He has deprived the world and the issues of this sinful age of the power to harm us, yet we teach that these very issues are God-ordained from the throne, itself. Though we are told to walk in joy through these trials, we are never told to thank God for them. We are actually told from the Lord that if we remain faithful throughout the issues of life, that we have a reward in this life (Luke 18:29-30). Now, for the single-most important verse of them all...

James 1:13 -> "Let no one say when he is tempted (peirazo), “I am tempted (peirazo) by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt (peirazo) anyone."

It is the same root word! In other words: God and the devil are not in Cahoots. God is not contracting Satan and his minions to do God's dirty work in order to teach us things. Jesus said in John 10:10 that He is not the author of stealing, killing or destroying. In fact, we learn in 1John 3:8, that Jesus came expressly to destroy all of Satan's work. He did not do this so that He could go sit at the Father's side and use that very satanic power against us. God is not an abusive Father; He is not making life hard on anybody in order to prove a point. 

Once we get this solidified in our thinking, we will be more adequately prepared for all that the enemy throws our way. You cannot have faith to combat something if you think God is authoring its existence. Our faith becomes severely stunted when we believe God is authoring our sickness, disease, poverty, addictions, depressions, and so-on Our faith is severely limited if we think the He is taking "the long way 'round" in providing for us our Covenant rights to freedom, healing and prosperity. God has been ready to provide us the very best this life has to offer. He paid an exceptionally high price to grant us those rights and privileges. For Him to withhold anything from us, we be for Him to be made a liar. Enough people think that about Him already. Don't add to their number. 

Remember what Jesus promised: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne." ~Matthew 11:28-30, Amplified.

So, why do these bad things happen in our lives? Check back later...