Good morning Friend. I trust you are doing great. Today, by God’s Grace, we will begin a short series where we will be sharing on a very sensitive dimension of our walk with God; Afflictions. For some reason, many in the generation of young believers we have today have a pretty inaccurate understanding of what afflictions are and how God expects us to deal with them when we face them. According to God’s Word, nothing reveals the true character of a believer more than his response to trials, tribulations, persecutions & afflictions. For some reason, we have been wrongly taught to believe that a believer is immune from affliction, thereby we begin to question God at moments when we need to rely on His Word the most. So, by God’s Grace, we will be sharing some really powerful insights on this very important subject.
Afflictions, Trials, Tribulations… What do these words mean in the light of God’s Word? Where or whom do they come from? How does God expect believers to deal with them? These are the questions that this series of articles is poised to help us find answers to by the help of the Holy Spirit. The first thing we will attempt to do here is to define the scope of what “Afflictions” mean in the Light of God’s Word, especially the New Testament which has become for us, the thrust of our spiritual constitution since our new birth into Christ. If you use my type of Bible, the word “affliction” appears 25 times in the New Testament (including The Gospels), “tribulation” appears 22 times while “trial” appears 3 times. This is apart from other variations of the same word that may contextually mean the same thing, like adversity, hardship, temptation, etc.
An affliction is a cause of pain, harm, hurt, discomfort and disorder. It is a complete anomaly in the economy of God. That is, where God has His perfect will in operation, there is no existence of affliction as seen in
Revelation 21:3-4 (KJV): And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there any more pain for the former things are passed away.
Now, this is the reality of the new order in our home in heaven when we get there and even right now as I write. A place where God’s will is 100% in force. This already tells us that God is not the author of afflictions and tribulations and trials and hardship. When Job was afflicted, the devil had to get involved (We will go into more details in our next post). But pay attention to this, God is very interested in how you handle affliction. In fact, He promises very special things to those who endure affliction as good soldiers. There are portions of scripture that properly capture this perspective. Please read through every quoted verse.
James 1:12-13 (KJV) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive a crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.
2 Cor 4:17 (KJV) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory:
Romans 8:18 (KJV) For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (KJV) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: 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.
2 Tim 2:3 (KJV) Endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ
Prov 24:10 (MSG) If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place
There are still a lot of scriptures that give more insight into this subject. I wish I could get your real time feedback right now. Based on these verses of scripture you have read, what are your thoughts and perhaps, conclusions on this subject? Okay, since I can’t get yours at the moment, I’ll share with you some of mine.
1. Afflictions don’t come from God but God makes them work for us: We see from those verses that God is not the source or author of affliction or trials, but how we respond in these precious moments determine whether we get a reward in heaven or a whooping by the enemy on earth. Only in the furnace of affliction can our faith be tried and be found in praise and glory of Jesus at His coming. 1 Peter 1:7-8. Your scars will be the credentials for your crowns. God is not oblivious to the reality of the fallen world we live in, but God cannot just wave a magic wand and get rid of all the problems of the world like many people believe He can. Man has more say in what goes on in the earth than God has… Oh that’s blasphemy someone says, but it is not. Where God has full command, we find no pain, tears or hardship but here, because of the power transfer that happened between Adam and the enemy at the beginning, we surrendered our domain to be invaded by the enemy who then installed his software (sin) upon which he could conveniently deploy applications (sickness, disease, violence, hatred, etc) which are the primary causes of affliction. The devil sends affliction to test the resolve of the believer and only through that can God make His boast in you for your unfeigned faith. With the right understanding of the how God wants us to deal with affliction, we can always convert our afflictions to eternal weights of glory. So, how does God expect us to respond to these afflictions?
2. We must be ready to fight the good fight of faith and love: So, when we are faced with afflictions, what does God expect us to do? Usually when people go through hard times, they are quick to question God’s love and make funny bargains. In trying times, knowing that God loves you is a pillar to rest on and not a theory to question. Life isn’t a bed of roses, whether you are a Christian or not. But a Christian can go through life with a spring in his feet, believing that God has declared him a world overcomer before the battle started. Life will hit you, sometimes really hard, but Proverbs 24:10 tells us that if we fall like a pack of cards in the midst of crisis, there wasn’t really anything to us to start with. The fault doesn’t go to the hardness of the hardship, it goes to the feebleness of the victim. When we recognize that the hardship comes through a person who the enemy may be using to hinder or cause harm to us, we rebuke the devil at work in him by faith and walk in love towards the individual… this is what is often called persecution. It usually involves people. However, If affliction manifests in sickness, diseases and lack which have no human participant, we go straight into our faith arsenal and unleash the right caliber of rifle on it, stifling the very life out of that satanic agent. We stand and stay in faith and get the victory as promised by the Word. We sure don’t go to God questioning his love and affection towards us just because we are faced with a tease from hell?
There is so much to share friends, but I’ll stop here for today and we will pick up from here in our next post, where we will be sharing on God’s Recipe for Stability & Victory in Afflictions. People need to know this. Do well to share this with friends and loved ones. God bless your heart. Have a fantastic week ahead. I love you.