“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”1
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”2
“For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”3
I will try to keep this post shorter than most, for a change. God is so different from the ways ALL religions perceive Him. He’s not “like” or “unlike” anyone or anything. He is Holy (separate), different from all else. He is who He is. Even the apostle Paul wrote that God’s mind, judgments and ways cannot be discovered by man.4 Therefore when something happens in our lives that doesn’t make sense to us as those who try to honor and obey God, keep in mind God has a different view than we do. Ultimately, we can’t know God’s heart and ways using our own reason or knowledge. Knowing God ONLY comes by intimacy and divine revelation from the Spirit of God Himself. In 1 Corinthians 2:11, Paul wrote this: “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
So often, believers say that while America is not perfect, we are “blessed” to live here. It’s true that in a physical sense, we have freedom, wealth, and opportunity that are almost unimaginable for literally billions of people on this planet. We call these things the blessings of God, but are they? While I appreciate these things just as most do, I think they are actually often hindrances and distractions to the true pursuit and knowledge of God, and they aren’t His blessings at all.
God is concerned with our spiritual growth and development. Our flesh He doesn’t care about, and often hinders true spiritual growth. The concept of the spiritual realm is still one that is hugely misunderstood and largely ignored within Christianity. (That sad fact drives me crazy). But it’s the realm of the spirit which God deals in and is concerned with. I don’t think He honestly cares that much if in the natural realm we have lots of money and opportunity, or next to none. Christians remain under intense persecution all around the world, and you can read in Acts some of the horrible things the first believers had to endure for their faith. Does God love these believers less? Were they less “blessed?” No, not as God sees it. They were more blessed, because they had more wisdom, understanding, revelation, anointing, communion, power, and grace from God. Those are His true blessings. His blessings are in the spiritual realm.
When things aren’t going your way, when you’re going through all varieties of hardships and trials, when you’re suffering and don’t know “why,” try to resist the common lie that God is angry at you and is punishing you. Know this: we believers, who have a spiritual Father, are spiritual beings ourselves, merely residing in a temporary fleshly container. So if the container is suffering, or our own will is crossed, don’t doubt that God still loves you, He is working on the spirit.
If our so-called “blessings” disappear in the physical world, whether this were to be sudden or gradual, maybe this prepares a way for us to perceive, appreciate and pursue the spiritual blessings that we have and are available but we’ve been distracted from.
To those suffering now: maybe your Father is chastising you, but then again maybe He’s blessing you. Maybe in the end there’s no difference.
- 1. John 15:2
- 2. 1 Peter 4:12-13
- 3. Hebrews 12:6-10
- 4. Romans 11:33-34