Good afternoon to all, grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we are going to discuss something that was brought to my attention through the Spirit of God in a recent conversation I was having with a fellow Christian. A Christian woman was asking for advice from others in how she should deal with a decision that she had to make during a trying time in her life. There will always be a test from God in our circumstances, if we truly do have faith in him or not, by our reactions to our suffering. He has been testing his people since the fall of man to reveal to them if they are truly trusting him or other idols, including making themselves an idol. Should she live in Christ, or die in her sorrow? Should she raise herself up out of the pit, or trust in him to raise her up? Should she move forward by his giving grace and strength or count on her own and the love from others? These are all test to reveal who your soul is resting in. I am sure counting on our own strength and the love from others would be more easier for most than to trust in God we cannot see giving us all we need. It is hard to have faith in a person you cannot see or feel in the flesh. But once we do our life will be changed through his Spirit working constantly in us as we continually to surrender ourselves to HIM.
Psalm 666:10 For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought unto prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us too a place of abundance.
Many of us want to be left alone in our suffering, others want to fix everything themselves, and others want to prove how strong they are in their own wisdom in who they think their Savior is, and have no Holy Spirit in them and live a life of deception. The test or the circumstance will always reveal his truth within a person. Many of us look at Jesus being more human than of God, and others see him as being more God than human. We have to remember he was God first in human form. We are humans first, then through Christ in God's form. We become a new creature through Christ, we are no longer only human. We take in faith what he gives us from his divine nature from the cross, and die everyday,and we can be obedient to his will as we die, we gain more of him. Christ is different than we are, he was born obedient to his Father's will because he came from God, he is God. He only had to die once at the cross for all of us, and those that believe in him he gives the right to receive Him. We have to die everyday to receive what he gives us everyday. He still suffered in many ways as a human, and this is what we are going to discuss today how he responded to his suffering, and overcame what he suffered.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, as we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Those of us that truly know our Lord will always take every thought and make it obedient to Christ. So let us look at our Lord, and how he dealt with a few of his most suffering moments as a human before the cross, in how he was obedient to his Father by His guiding Spirit of himself. Many times our sufferings have a strong hold on us, and create us to only focus on our circumstances instead of our Savior. This is why Paul defended the Gospel at all cost because he knew Christ could brake any stronghold of wisdom, thoughts, or need in healing spiritually, emotionally and physically during any suffering we may all go through. Paul learned through Christ how to be content in all circumstances and through Christ we can too. When we meet a person who falls apart at every circumstance and cannot be herself do you think she is relying on Him our Savior? Has she learned the secrets of God through His Son?
Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
Many today look at Jesus being human without the power of God. Other's look at the power of God and forget he too was human. He was God in perfect human form. That is why through His Spirit we can be as he was as long as we keep fighting the fight of faith with all he gives us of himself from the cross, and not go back to our sinful desires, our own thinking, and our own human natural state of living. Satan continually uses the cares of this world to take us away from God. God uses the cares of this world to prove his presence within us working and changing us. Which one is getting his way will always show up inside us in how we respond to our circumstances. All these cares will take a stronghold of us, and keep us from doing God's will in our lives as long as we are away from him. Christ is the only one that can brake these strongholds from the cross. They can only be broken when we have faith in him breaking them. We are going to discuss a few of our Lord's suffering times before the cross, and look at how he responded and why? This image of Christ will be his proof working his image in us when we have fully surrendered in faith to God our Father for his purpose and plan for our own lives. We also will be dealing with our troubles much differently than we did before, and we will be transformed into his image by faith. Will we choose to live in Him by faith now and forever, or die now in our cares without him forever? Our first suffering of our Lords that has been revealed to us through his word is when his cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded.
Matthew 13:13-14 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
With these words and through His Spirit we know he was troubled, and went to pray alone to gain strength, and encouragement from his Father. This we will all do when we surrender ourselves to his will everyday, we will pray to our Father for strength, guidance and comfort the moment our spirits are troubled, and want go to a solitary place, and be alone with him. The next scene his word describes is the crowds heard about Jesus going off to a solitary place, and they followed. We see when Jesus landed the boat in this solitary place he saw the crowd and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
Who could do this? Who could have just heard their cousin had been beheaded and not say, "I can't deal with this right now." "I am sorry but I am going through so much, I do not have time for you today." "I do not have time to help you, I need to help myself with all the suffering I am going through." He could have said all that, and I would have understood, after all, I have cousins, and I would be devastated if I heard he suffered in jail, and then someone cut off his head because he believed in me, and my Father. What kind of human was Jesus, how could he look beyond himself, and still minister to the crowd, heal the sick, forgive their sins, and then do something even more miraculous? Where did he get his strength from to do all this and not think of his own suffering? He not only spoke of his Father and His kingdom for three days, he feed all of them, and there were 5 thousand!! Talking about being strong enough to make his kingdom of peace, he truly showed it through his suffering, and he was the only one that could and would through us in the future!! He showed us God's power so much more than many realize within himself.
This is who we are through our suffering, because it is him that gives us all we need through our suffering, and it pours out of us into the world for them to learn more about our Father. "I am who I am by the grace of God through His Son Jesus Christ." When I suffer he gives me what I need, and enough to share with others during and after my suffering. We also can feed five thousand his provision during our suffering, if, and when he gives us the opportunity to prove it. We also can speak non stop about him to someone else during our suffering. This is who Christ was, and this is who he makes his chosen children during and after our suffering of any kind.
Another example is when Judas one of his twelve disciples, and closest friend betrayed him, and he knows who is going to betray him. Through God's word we learn also that Peter betrays Jesus. Jesus was not troubled over Peter's betrayal because he knew he would come back, and Judas never returned and Jesus knew he would not. This troubled him knowing this betrayal. When Jesus was troubled it amazes me how strong and courageous he was when he told the other disciples of his betrayal. With such boldness, strength and truth not letting his troubled spirit take a strong hold of him in his circumstances. He dipped the bread in the oil, and gave it to his betrayer, did not argue, did not weep, did not ask any questions, and told him to do whatever he was going to do, do it quickly.
John 13:18-21 "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bead has lifted up his heel against me.' "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accept me accepts the one who sent me" After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me"
v26 Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I ha dipped it in the dish." Then dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do , do quickly," Jesus told him.
Again, what kind of human could do this? Who could be so clam, so courageous, and so bold to hand the piece of bread to his friend he loved, to a friend that became a betrayer and say, "Go and betray me quickly." This would have to be a human that had been from God and someone who totally was devoted to His Father's purpose, and plan for their lives above their own. Someone who would not look at his own suffering before God's will for his own life, and that is why God gave him all he needed because he was God and God was proving who he was in his first born Son, for all of us to see God's work in him, we who have faith in His Son would recognize His Spirit and work in us.
Another time he reveals to us is when he was tired physically from his journey, took a break, and rested at a well. There was a woman, and he began talking to her, using his power of knowledge knowing the woman was a sinner, and told her to receive his water that would cleanse her, and his water would well up in her where she would never thirst for sinning again but only receive his Spirit within and pour out his grace and peace to share with others.
What kind of human does this? Who after walking far more than most today walk, could have had the strength to talk to a person, and complete His Father's business. He again could of said nothing, and rested from his tired bones from his long journey, and minded his own business. He could of said to himself, "I am so tried, and I need to rest, and I do not feel like talking to this woman my Father has put before me." That was not him, his business was his Father's business, and he had been given the knowledge of this woman to act upon for her benefit. He could have turned down his Father's knowledge he had given him, and ignored the Spirit that was within him, but that is not who he was. He was full of God's grace and power that overcome his tired bones, and his Father continually gave him the words, and strength to complete his purpose. I have only experienced a little of his strength which is a lot more than I have ever had in my human life before I knew him, and I am eager to experience more and more of his strength proven in my life. His strength takes me far beyond my own in the most amazing circumstances!!
Today we need to look at what is taking a stronghold on us in our circumstances, and in our relationships. We need to walk in the Spirit and remember to always bring every thought obedient to Christ at the cross from what his Spirit gives us, so he can give us what we need above ourselves for God and his purpose in our lives. He will never force us to listen to him, but we have to surrender willingly our mind to him, our ears to him, and our eyes to him in faith. So today, how are we dealing with all our suffering of betrayals, bad news about a loved one, and tiredness from our journey? Where is our wisdom coming from? What stronghold has a hold of us, and what standard are we living by? Is God creating us in the image of His Son? Is he transforming us from the Holy Spirit of truth? Are we passing the test? Are we putting others needs before our own suffering? Are we seeking others that do not know our Lord to give us direction and comfort, or are we taking every thought and making obedient to him by his divine words and power that can brake any stronghold! He is holding out his hand for us to come to him and let his power reign in our lives for his glory and praise!