Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Right View Of Suffering

My neighbor Ralph's idea of persecution :)

"The kingdom of darkness utilizes a two-fold strategy to undermine the Kingdom of Light: neutralizing righteousness while advancing wickedness. We typically think of Satan as only increasing wickedness, but he is successful because he also neutralizes our ability to advance righteousness. In other words, he looks to weaken his opponent’s ability to fight while beating him to the ground."

"One of the perpetual criticisms that dominionists hear is that we neglect the role of suffering in the life of the believer by our undue emphasis on the triumphant Christian. It is held that Reconstructionists neglect what the Bible says about suffering and that we proffer bringing in the Kingdom of God by our own power."

"Unless we possess a proper understanding of the breadth of Christian suffering, dominionism can be overbearing and even dangerous. The first, and most important, fact being overlooked is that the primary ailment the Christian contends with is sin. It is sin that reigns in his mortal body (Rom. 6:12), and it is evildoing that prevails in a society (Rom. 13:3–4). The powers of darkness are only as strong as the “sons of disobedience” in any given area (Eph. 2:2), and the wrath of God comes in response to that disobedience (Eph. 5:6). This is why we are to seek regeneration as the source of societal transformation and not the upheaval of revolution."

"We have a very real enemy in the ruling spirits of darkness, but the locus of their power is found in sin—and sin resides in the heart of man. Therefore, we must not only seek to convert the hearts of men, we must also guard our own hearts from the influence of sin. However, we must take this a step further, and this is where the concept of Christian suffering enters in."

"We have a very real enemy in the ruling spirits of darkness, but the locus of their power is found in sin—and sin resides in the heart of man. Therefore, we must not only seek to convert the hearts of men, we must also guard our own hearts from the influence of sin. However, we must take this a step further, and this is where the concept of Christian suffering enters in.

When we think of suffering, we obviously think first of the godly martyrs of both Old and New Testaments. And, of course, none personify suffering more than our Lord Himself, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). For us in the West, suffering of this magnitude is unfamiliar. These days, only believers living under anti-Christian regimes experience real suffering.

But this is only one form of suffering. By definition, suffering is something we put up with, or endure, and that can be extreme, as in martyrdom, or moderate as in what we experience in our daily interaction in this world. Each day we all experience injustices at the hands of others. At other times, we are dispensing those same injustices. Either way, we regularly experience a form of suffering to which the Holy Spirit provides the remedy of longsuffering:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:22–23; emphasis added)

Most of these spiritual characteristics are to be operative toward other people, and in a sense, they all fall under the category of love. As Paul says, “Charity suffereth long” and “endureth all things” (1 Cor. 13:4, 7). Surely, he has more in mind than enduring harsh persecution or martyrdom. He intends also our longsuffering toward one another:

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:2–3)

This is a broader definition of Christian suffering, and unless we consider it, we will not see our longsuffering as a weapon against the kingdom of darkness. Remember, it is both sin and Satan that we contend with, and our daily handling of suffering will directly determine how much sin and Satan will prevail."


Read "A Crown of Thorns: Reigning Through Suffering" by Chris Ortiz in it's entirety here.

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