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Monday, September 24, 2012

Prosperity?

A few days back I was reading in Psalm 77.  I was struck by 7 – 10, primarily because there are so many times that passage describes the way I feel.

As I thought through this passage it occurs to me that perhaps all that go through difficult times entertain these questions.  I wonder if it is not true that most of us think that if we are following Christ pretty much all of life should work out fairly well.  So if something is not going well, if there is a season of suffering or difficulty we wonder if we are really walking with God.  Further, there are those in the evangelical community that will help you ask that question if it has not occurred to you as yet.
If we are struggling, is that a reflection on our faith?
I mentioned earlier that I am working through Mark and 2 Corinthians.  One of the things that I have observed thus far is that affliction and suffering are promised to those who choose to follow Christ.  (I did a quick search at Bible Gateway for you to validate the point click on the words in the previous sentence to see the results in the ESV, you could also look at tribulation.)

It is the case that if we are attempting to follow Christ in the midst of enemy territory, which at this moment is the condition of this world.  It stands to reason that the one who prowls about like a roaring lion seeking to devour and all of his legions might just find our existence offensive and put up some resistance.

That does not mean that all of the hardships we are facing are from the enemy, but it does beg the question.  Perhaps it is something that we should ask the Lord about.  It is His answer that matters not the opinion of the accusers be they well meaning members of the community or the enemy.

1 comment:

  1. A huge topic! The NT seems to lay out three enemies we have to contend with: our flesh (old man, self, etc.) and the devil and his minions (see such passages as Eph.6:12, Romans 12:1;
    1 John 2:16, etc.). It also seems that they are usually intertwined, often indistinguishably. And there is yet a fourth area that must be considered: we live in an environment hostile to God that is broken and suffering (perhaps included in the "world," but I think personally it is different). This is the "world" not unique to believers, but affects all men living in it. And it seems all these areas interact in many ways. The devil tries to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10) in every area of human existence, affecting believer and non believer alike.

    It is certainly true that the more I seek to participate in God's battles for men (women, children, the family) the more opposition I can expect. The ruler(s) of darkness will do all he (they) can to quench the light. And he would be successful except God is ultimately sovereign. That doesn't mean I won't suffer.

    I know that the 1 John 2 list of the world's allures have impact and sometimes I can see them. There have been a few times in my life when direct demonic involvement has been clear (scary, but relatively easy to deal with because it was so clear).

    I do think, however, that the most painful struggles I face personally on a day to day basis(given we aren't yet under much physical persecution yet) is my struggle with daily sin, my flesh. I have a traitor living in my same body. It's difficult, and it's painful both when I come face to face with it, and when I fall and recognize the offense I give to God and smear to His nature and reputation.

    I feel one of the most powerful exhortations in the NT on this is Romans 12:12 (NASB), "...persevering in tribulation...." Do I ever want to give up, just pull the ejection seat and get on to heaven? Not mine to pull, thankfully. But mine to persevere. And its gets harder and harder the older I get.

    This would make great further discussion
    My not yet believing

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