RSS

Tag Archives: suffering

Overwhelming Love

peace_please_iap_by_iapcommunity

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit.” (Eph 4:1-4 WEB (R))

…that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:14-16 WEB (R))

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn’t yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him. (1Co 8:1-3 WEB (R))

To truly follow Christ, one must remain humble and teachable – not simply willing to change one’s understanding and perception, but EAGER to do so.  Sentimentality has no place in a spiritual walk; change is often just another word for growth.  So, I am certainly not against seeking to gain correct “knowledge” or “information” about God’s ways or character, but I want to highlight that while knowledge has its place, it MUST be secondary and subject to love, or it becomes poisonous instead of nourishing.  I think you could say this: love without knowledge is immature, but knowledge without love is hurtful

In Ephesians 4:16, Paul says that a mature and healthy body will be “building itself up in love.”  Love is vital to growth within the body of Christ, and since we are one body, we are actually OBLIGATED to love one-another, as Paul also writes in Romans 13:8.  However, because many leaders and ministers have preferred knowledge over love, and because so many believers have allowed themselves to be divided over who is right and wrong in their understanding, the body of Christ has been divided and its growth has been stunted. 

This can be a bit confusing, because scripture says knowledge “puffs up” (makes one proud), and that one day knowledge will pass away, but it also says in many places that knowledge is very good and valuable. I believe one simple reason for this is that there are two sorts of knowledge: knowledge of the mind (information/reason), and knowledge of the spirit (revelation/light). These are quite different, and it is the knowledge of the mind, aka information or reason, which tends to make men proud and which will one day pass away. This may be a startling statement, but it’s true:  we should never cut ties with a brother just because they don’t have the knowledge or understanding we do.  If we do, we’re preferring knowledge over love and stunting growth within our own body!

It’s easy to say all this, but I’ll be the first to admit practicing this requires discernment and a lot of patience.   In Ephesians 4:2, Paul says we should be “bearing with one another in love.” The word “bearing” is also translated as “suffer” and “endure.”  It’s often hard and taxing to accept others where they are, when you can see their faults but they stubbornly won’t or can’t.  But love compels us to do so, and we want others to do the same for us.  Bearing with one-another may be the only hope we have of maturing.

Here’s my disclaimer: this doesn’t mean we shirk from speaking the truth, even at times if we know it will offend others, nor does it mean we have to accept anything and everything someone does or says.  Truth AND love are essential.  Jesus offended religious people all the time, but it wasn’t his intention or goal.  He simply saw how the ways of the religious were damaging and leading astray those who were truly seeking God’s way, and spoke undiluted truth in love for his Father and his Father’s people. 

Paul also knew the importance of knowledge, praying  that the love of his fellow believers would grow and abound in greater knowledge and discernment, so that they wouldn’t  tolerate and devote themselves to various things which seem good but are devoid of actual, spiritual life.1  What all this does mean is that we must value love and unity more highly than knowledge.  It means we let love “overwhelm” our insistence that others see or conform to our way.  It means we live at peace with everyone to the fullest extent we can while abiding in Christ.  If someone seems incredibly immature and stuck in their ways – don’t divide from them or attack them, but bear with them in love (you may have been that way yourself once).  If someone contradicts or seems to disrespect your ways – don’t divide from them or attack them, but bear with them in love.  Again, this requires discernment and a connection with God, as there are millions of challenging scenarios when you’re talking about relationships between people.  Ultimately, be led of the spirit.

If we can follow the law of love and accept one-another in peace, we keep the body of Christ connected and thus love can flow and growth WILL take place.  Like Paul said, we should be EAGER to keep the unity of the spirit.  Don’t all want truth, when all is said and done?  Honestly, some don’t, but we can rest assured that God will ultimately have His way.  In the meantime, choose the way of love – to bear with your brothers and sisters.

God bless you…

  1. Philippians 1:9-11

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Rethinking God’s Blessings

“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
 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Violence and Suffering

 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”  -Jesus

“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”  -Jesus

“…encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”  (Acts 14:22)

“I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus…”  (Revelation 1:9)

This may be one of the most important blogs I have written, because it exposes one of the most persistent deceptions and hindrances facing those who are truly seeking to know and honor God.  It’s a deception I’ve faced myself.  The deception is basically this: passive faith is all that is needed to access God’s Kingdom and to fulfill His will.  It’s simply not true.  Both Jesus and the first apostles told us multiple times that we must be diligent, strive, suffer and be violent to access the Kingdom of God and to do His will.  But today, for whatever reason, there seems to be a prevailing attitude that we simply need to “believe,” and God will do and give us everything.  Certainly we need to believe, but certainly not is everything “automatic” after that. 

In pursuing God and understanding the new covenant which Jesus brought, it’s helpful to look back to the old testament, because the old testament is full of physical examples that represent spiritual realities for us today.  The following scriptures (and many more) demonstrate this: 

“Now these things happened to them (ancient Israelites) as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  (1 Corinthians 10:11) 

“Now if He (Jesus) were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law;   who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things (spiritual realities which Jesus taught about)…”  (Hebrews 8:4-5)

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself…”  (Hebrews 9:24 ESV)

If the physical “promised land” which in the old testament God promised to the Israelites represents the spiritual Kingdom of God today, it’s helpful to see how God gave the physical land to Israel and how they came to inhabit it.  Between the time God promised the land to Abraham and his descendents and coming to actually inhabit the land under Joshua, Israel faced years of hardship such as enslavement and oppression in Egypt, wilderness wandering, brutal wars with surrounding nations, etc.  And even once Joshua led them into the land, there were enemies there that needed to be conquered and driven out.

Thus we see clearly that in the spirit realm all believers in Jesus are going to have to wander and seek and fight and strive, at least for a season.  The enemies faced by spiritual Israel, the church, are religion, fear, pride, self-preservation, disapproval of family, desire for worldly success, security and pleasure, distractions, boredom and dryness, bitterness and unforgiveness, discouragement, etc.  We fight these enemies with spiritual weapons.  Once the church finally cries out to God and persistently, diligently and violently follows Him, as Jesus did, the promised land will be taken spiritually.  I believe that day is coming.  Seek Him while you can, from a motive of love.  God bless you.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
Immortality Road

Going Out to the Sons and Daughters of God

New Mystic Mother

A Mother :: Falling Into the Hands of Grace :: The Journey

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

SEE withyour HEART

I am a citizen of heaven...Phil 3:20

Spiritual Abuse Sanctuary

Exposing Spiritual Abuse

The Straight Way Church Blog

Making the Way straight for the scattered Remnant of God

Freedom ARC blog

Sons of Issachar - understanding the times

Done with Religion

Written by Jim Gordon - Living with God Outside the Walls of Religion

plucked out of the fire

Passionate about Christ being revealed in and through his people!

Ephesians 4

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

My utmost 4 His garbage can

we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus. 2 Cor. 4:5

The Voice of One

To know and preach nothing but Christ....

notesfromthebridge

Most would rather endure comfortable bondage, than experience uneasy freedom

Escape to Reality

Exploring the wide open spaces of God's amazing grace

Life of Yan ♥

My Name is Yanira Vargas. I am a Senior at Washington State University. I love all things expression and creative. I was in a relationship with my childhood best friend of 4 years, who happens to have had passed away with stage 3 brain cancer. I still believe in God, and in the beauty of mircles. Join me and embark on this journey with me.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)