Archive for February 4, 2012

Suffering is Your Opportunity to Show Your Quality (Part 3)

God hates the proud, the haughty, liars, deceivers, mockers and the self-righteous. But he exalts the humble and meek.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6.

You are not here to exalt yourself but to be a display of perfect submission, trust and dependence on Him. That gives God glory. That establishes your place as his son and Him as your Father. It is the place that all men in their natural state will not go. Men love to seek the high places and to gain to themselves the best seats. They love long flowing robes with lots of bling-bling. In reality the heart that is not submitted to God wants to be God – its that simple.

Remaining stiff-necked, and that after many rebukes – refusing to submit is a loud and clear, undeniable declaration of “I will” and nobody will tell me what to do – I am God. This is the resolve and permanent position of the enemy of God. When you stand here you stand as an enemy against God.

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Prov. 29:1.

So what does all this have to do with Job? A lot. Whereas Job’s three friends related everything that was going on with Job to themselves. Job entrusted himself to the One he knew would have to make sense of what was happening. He humbled himself under the mighty hand of God. When many would have either been tempted to curse God and die, thus giving up their faith or alternately would have tried to find a way to reconcile the situation by agreeing with the friends to protect God’s image according to the their beliefs regarding how God punishes wrongdoers and rewards the righteous, Job did not – he endured. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Heb. 12:3.

Job stood (or should I say sat) in the midst of a terrible crisis of faith. He was forced to deal with things as they are – that he is righteous and he is suffering – and most of the suffering came from those who were closest to him. He is in a place that few will ever get to unless they go on with God, trusting Him and obeying Him. Few will be given this test because few could pass it.

God is looking for a few good men and women to show their quality. He is looking for doers of the word and not hearers only. He is seeking them out diligently throughout the earth. Do you not realize the signs of the times? God is moving swiftly and accurately with the determination and skill of a smart bomb to target those who will prove Him against the onslaught of this world system. He is looking for sons who will reflect His character in the midst of crisis and trial and affliction and whatever else the enemy wants to throw at him.

Job had one thing that his friends did not have. He knew God in an intimate relationship, they did not. Here is the final analysis given in Job 42:7: “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.”

They did not know God, they knew about Him. They had reasoned in their human minds who He was by the things they could observe and manage and organize. They had a form of godliness. They had religion.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Tim. 3: 1-5.

A form of godliness will not stand the test. It will always breakdown under the trial of suffering. A person who pretends to know God but does not will eventually be brought to a place of testing so that he or she may know that they deceive themselves. It may not be apparent to everyone else, but they will know in the crisis whether they are faithful or not.

Trials and afflictions, suffering and denying of self are tools that God uses.

Suffering is your opportunity to show your quality.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Love Pretended Is Love Offended In order for a rational creature to understand the secret desire and intention of your heart, is necessary for you to express it to him in words. But God, who searches the heart, does not need you to profess and assure him of it; nor is he satisfied, as the evangelist says, with love in word or in tongue, but with that which is true and active. What good does it do to tell him with great zeal and fervor that you love him tenderly and perfectly above all things, if at one bitter word or slight injury you fail to resign yourself, not being mortified for the love of him? A manifest proof that your love was a love in tongue and not in deed. Miguel De Molinos – The Spiritual Guide, 1675 – excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Removing the Dirt is Refreshing This is letting our feet be washed, in the sense intended by our Lord; and you will observe how blissful, refreshing, and reviving is the act. And in the eyes of him who is possessed of true simplicity, this daily renewed repentance, and the fresh experience of salvation which attends it, is nothing legal, but the real gospel, and an exercise which is unspeakably sweet. The inward man is thus renewed day by day, and experiences a continued restoration. The flowers of joy and devotedness to God incessantly spring up in the heart, and it is always spring time within. F. W. Krummacher – The Suffering Saviour, Meditations on the Last Days of Christ, Wipf and Stock Publishers
Sustaining Power Is Restraining Power We can be brought into a state of pristine childlike innocence before God by the regenerating work of His grace. God does something infinitely grander than give a man a new start: He re-makes him from the inside. We have the power, because we have received it, to transform the natural into the spiritual even as Jesus did, because the life generated into us is His own life. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Spiritual Death Born of Intellectual Analysis The secret and reality of this blissful life in God cannot be understood without receiving, living, and experiencing it. If we try to understand it only with the intellect, we will find our efforts useless. A scientist had a bird in his hand. He saw that it had life, and wanting to find out in what part of the bird’s body the life was, he began dissecting the bird. The result was that the very life of which he was in search disappeared mysteriously. Those who try to understand the inner life merely intellectually will meet with a similar failure. The life for which they are looking will vanish in the analysis. Sadhu Sundar Singh – With and Without Christ – circa 1925; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
Heads Up When with Bad Company How few do believe what a quarrel God hath with wicked men! If we did we would tremble as much to be among them as to be in a house that is falling; we would endeavor to “save” ourselves “from this untoward generation.” Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
Let the Wheat and The Tares Grow Together Christianity came in here as before. It came in startingly with the sword, and clove one thing from another. It divided the crime from the criminal. The criminal we must forgive unto seventy times seven. The crime we must not forgive at all. It was not enough that slaves who stole wine inspired partly anger and partly kindness. We must be much more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before. There was room for wrath and love to run wild. And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while I had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild. G. K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, copyright 1908 by Dodd, Mead and Company
Incalculable You can never overestimate the depravity of a man. Tom Van Hoogen
New Heart, Same Old Flesh And if the question be asked what we are to think of all there is within us that contradicts this faith, let us remember what Scripture teaches us of it. We sometimes speak of an old and a new heart. Scripture does not do so. It speaks of the old, the stony, heart, being taken away the heart, with its will, disposition, affections, being made new with a Divine newness. This new heart is placed in the midst of what Scripture calls the flesh, in which there dwelleth no good thing. Andrew Murray – The Two Convenants, 1898, copyright 2005
The Journey From the Cross to the Celestial City The Kingdom of God began at Calvary. The cross was a necessity. When we pick up the cross of Jesus and bear it in love to Him, his Kingdom has begun in us. We must be satisfied to carry that cross as long as it is His will. Fenelon – Let Go, circa 1690, copyright 1973 Whitaker House
To Know Him, That is My Chief End Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord. The world today is full of sufferers from the wasting disease which Albert Camus focused as absurdism (“life is a bad joke”), and from the complaint which we may call Marie Antoinette’s fever, since she found the phrase that describes it (“nothing tastes”). These disorders like the whole of life: everything becomes at once a problem and a bore, because nothing seems worthwhile…. What makes life worthwhile is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance; and this the Christian has in a way that no other person has. For what higher, more exalted, and the more compelling goal can there be than to know God? J. I. Packer – Knowing God, © 1973 InterVarsity Press
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