By: Norm Rasmussen
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalms 34: 19 NKJV)
First off, who are the righteous according to God? If you are in Christ Jesus, you are righteous because He has imputed His righteousness to you. (See: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3: 8-9). And because God has imputed His righteousness to disciples of Jesus Christ, He expects them to work diligently at walking in daily righteousness. Purposing to do so pleases God greatly, which motivates Him to increase His favor upon your life as well as reward you in eternity for it. Always remember however, that when we fail in our efforts to walk in daily righteousness, Romans 8:1 assures us that we are not to let the devil use guilt and/or shame to condemn us. Conviction from the Holy Spirit is normal. Condemnation is always of the devil and it is fuel Satan uses to try to discourage us. However, none of us will attain sinless perfection in this life, which is reality, because if we COULD, there would never have been a need for God to impute HIS righteousness to us ' which is the ONLY righteousness that truly saves us from our sins anyway. (Our own righteousness will never save us, but it WILL be rewarded).
To understand more about the above amazing truth about God's righteousness given freely to believers IN Christ, you can go to the following two links:
Sometimes God allows trials to come our way because He has determined there is no other wise way to get our attention. Meaning ' some trials we indirectly bring upon ourselves. Be wise in your trials. Always seek God to discern some of the reason/s you are going through the trial. Is it because you haven't been pursuing righteousness (which essentially means disobedience to God) to the degree God desires of you (walking in on-going sin usually), or God wants you to seek Him for some new direction change/s? A good example involves health issues. Many of our health issues/trials are brought on because we either refuse to seek out wisdom regarding health issues, and/or are ignorant (uninformed of viable options), and/or we just are too spiritually lazy to seek God's counsel BEFORE and/or AFTER listening to medical advice. My firm suggestion to anyone is to learn how to hear what God says about your medical issue/s before you just listen to the advice of medical people and go with it as though each of them hear clearly from God for you all the time. NOT SO! Saying it another way ' NEVER respond to what a medical professional says to you without checking in with the Lord. Let God give you peace FIRST before you respond to the specific counsel of a medical professional. That includes all major decisions in life we have to make, by the way ' not just health issues.
Another area where we can bring needless trials into our lives is believing bad spiritual doctrine. There is a ton of spiritual deception through teachers and preachers on this planet, and you need to be extremely wise and patient by seeking God before you believe what someone is trying directly or indirectly to get you to believe.
Let us always remember: Many if not most of the trials dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ go through are nothing more than satanically caused afflictions to try to wear down; weaken both spiritually and physically - try to keep discouraging; frustrating - the saints, especially if we are determined to be used of the Lord to help advance the Kingdom of God in the lives of others. A real life and death battle is truly going on behind the scenes between good and evil angels (fallen angels) for the souls of mankind, and God is using born again believers to assist in that battle. What do we get out of the pain of it all? Eternal reward!
Back to the main point of
this writing ' MANY are the afflictions ' trials - of the righteous. But we
are not to stay centered on trials only, other than to seek God as to what
He may want us to learn by them [and truth be known ... there is little to
learn by many of them for those on the front line other than how to become
wiser in dealing with and fighting Satan and realize that we have enlisted
in the battle of all battles between good and evil when we asked Jesus to be
our Lord and Savior] ... that God wants us maintaining hope and faith
that our trials will come to an END. Satan will work hard at trying to
convince us that our trial/s are never going to stop in this life. (I've
heard those lies a number of times in my own trials, let me assure you):
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalms 34:19 NKJV)
How many of them? ALL. (Yet not necessarily always the way we would LIKE ... this side of eternity. That reality is what makes a writing like this so challenging to write about and difficult to get a handle on for some).
Yet I believe how we respond to our trials has a great deal to do with how quickly our trials may end. Basically there are two ways we respond to trials: 1) Woe is me! I deserve never-ending sympathy! [Compassion YES! Compassion is different than woe-is-me-sympathy] 2) Lord - what am I to learn from this trial? The sooner we learn to seek God about what He wants us learning through our trials, I firmly believe we qualify ourselves to have the trial end sooner than those who don't want to know.
TIP: A "Why ME Lord?!" on-going low-level complaining attitude when we are going through trials can be a turn off to God. (I've been guilty of that mindset, and it has never moved God to provide an answer that gives me any tickly warm fuzzies). But a "What do you want me to learn in this trial?" is a God turn on.
Here is the difficult part for
many young Christians to get a handle on. In seeking the Lord as to
what we are to learn from our trial/s, sometimes the ONLY thing to soberly
learn is that Satan hates Christians who are purposing to live their lives
in 100% maximized obedience to God, and God allows him to execute
afflictions against them because of it. Sin isn't the issue --
righteous is the issue. Remember, saint, if 11 of the 12 Apostles
were cruelly martyred for their faith in Christ, what makes you and I any
more exempt than them from being persecuted for our faith and obedience to
As is commonly taught, God has two different ways to deliver us: He can deliver us from ' and He can deliver us through. He decides what is best in each of the trials we face. Delivering us both from and through may be translating us to glory through the persecution Satan is inflicting us with simply for our unwavering willingness to die for our Lord and Savior if it is thrust upon to do so. (Gulp ... but let's not be into denial that such a thing can happen to any of us who are in Christ Jesus, which leads to the next paragraph).
The righteous are not to be given false hope. When we take a scripture like Psalms 34:19 and try to make it an 'one-scripture-verse-fits-all' truth for every trial at the omission of the full council of God's Word, we can set ourselves up for unnecessary pain. Meaning what? (This is a very delicate matter, to be sure).
Meaning that we also need to take a sobering look at ALL of the righteous in Hebrews Chapter 11. The chapter starts out by providing the reader with many of the Bible 'heroes of the faith.' Men and women of God who did 'mighty exploits' for God. But when we get down to Hebrews 11: 36-40, the understanding of Godly heroes being 'delivered out of their trials' changes:
Still others had trial of mocking and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented ' of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Some of our afflictions we will
not be delivered completely of until we pass into glory. Coming
to peace with this reality makes living a whole lot easier.
Thus I hope you understand the point I believe the Holy Spirit wants to make. God wants us realizing that all the pain of our affliction/s ' all the pain of our trials ' may not necessarily cease until we pass into eternity ' depending on what they are. We need to come to grips with this possibility, otherwise we may be setting ourselves up with a false hope that Satan will surely delight in taking advantage of if we allow it.
I might have a leg or arm missing due to war or an accident of some kind. Or, I might have been born with a deformity of some kind. Is there anything wrong with my believing that God will grow me a new leg or arm or deliver me from a deformity ' executing a miracle in other words? Absolutely not! Nevertheless, am I wise to not set myself up for undue discouragement and perhaps a degree of self-inflicted hopelessness and discouragement in case God doesn't honor what I'm trusting Him for? I personally don't see the wisdom of setting myself up for self-inflicted hopelessness from my discouragement.
My experience in God is that we need to be extremely wise in what we are believing God for in our relationship with Him at any given time. It is God-honoring to believe God to do the 'impossible' in our lives ' yet the 'impossible' may well be that God will extend his sustaining help - sustaining grace - all the way to the end of our lives and our compete deliverance may come when we pass into glory from this evil life.
God can execute a miracle deliverance on our behalf any time He wants. I personally believe that God absolutely delights in people believing Him for miracle deliverances! But our human reasoning has a difficult time processing the possibility that in God's determinant counsel regarding each of us, the greatest 'miracle' God may decide to execute in a righteous person's life may be that they continued to let their light shine while not lifting the affliction completely until that person is translated to heaven. Case in point again would be heroes of the faith given us in Hebrews 11:36-40 that did not receive in this life all they were hoping for and/or expecting God to do on their behalf.
Thusly ' the highest purpose of this writing is to soberly remind the reader that afflictions are going to visit the righteous, but those being afflicted need to constantly inquire of the Lord as to HOW God wants to deliver them and trust Him that He DOES want to deliver them. God will give us on-going peace about the matter when we do so, and make certain that Satan will not gain one lasting victory in our life that robs God the glory that is due Him and the joy of our testifying that our God 'can do anything' if we'll be brave enough to keep fighting and persisting with everything in us ... yet never allowing condemnation to descend upon us if we aren't experiencing any major breakthrough/s ... YET. We never know if God's deliverance with manifest in us or for us TOMORROW. Lord - help us to remain expecting.
'' But the Lord delivers them out of them all.'
God's highest desire for the righteous is to battle and keep battling for peace, faith and assuredly hope. Once faith and then hope begins to die in us, so will our peace and joy. Satan is constantly hammering away at the righteous to steal their peace and joy.
Dear one ' do yourself the greatest favor you can do for yourself from this moment forward until your time of trials in this life will cease and at the very least the pain of them become minimized: KEEP PERSISTENTLY SEEKING GOD IN HOW TO GET AND MAINTAIN YOUR PEACE AND JOY!
The quality and intensity of your faith in God to keep your delivered from demonic afflictions (trials) is often dependent on it. However, the Holy Spirit can download faith into us even when we are the least joyful and the least peaceful, so we must be careful about believing what God will or will not due when we are weak. He delights in releasing His unlimited power in our weaknesses, but we often have to go through a maturing process to learn how to do that.
Get back in the battle if you are growing weary. Frequently seek God for wisdom in how to stay OUT of weariness. We all face the trial of weariness from time to time, but God always has an eventual solution for our weariness. ALWAYS.
The spiritual weapons God gives us of standing on the promises of God's Word wisely applied, praise and thanksgiving and sincere - honest - prayer and fasting comes to mind. Don't ever under-estimate the importance of asking others to pray for you, especially when you are extremely weak through discouragement of the trial/s you are in.
It is very important for you to ever seek God in how you can more effectively 'resist the devil, so he will flee from you.' Constantly 'walking in the Spirit' is what equips us the most to resist Satan.
Go get 'em, soldier of Jesus Christ. Keep resisting the devil! Wear him down instead of him wearing you down. He isn't going to stop trying to find a way to afflict you with pain, you can be certain of that, and the more you resist him by putting on and keeping on your spiritual armor, the quicker he will flee. God will make certain of it.
Yet always remember, there is a time when we can grow so weary of our afflictions that we need to always remind ourselves, the ultimate battle is truly the Lord fighting for us, not just ours alone. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith in Him, and we need to make certain we don't come under any delusion that we are to fight the devil ourselves. Jesus has all power over Satan, and Jesus has all the angels necessary to fight on our behalf. Let's be wise and let Him do His part in helping us obtain our deliverance of being afflicted ' without failing, of course, to use the spiritual armor on our end.
We are told in God's Word by Jesus Himself to 'Pick up our cross daily, and follow Him.' Our daily cross will be a trial to one degree or another. Jesus is the only One we can count on to help us carry our cross, and He is the only One we can trust to follow. Otherwise, He would have told us to follow someone else.
Following is an excellent writing on the topic of trials - afflictions - by another writer: http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2002-04-07-The-Sixth-Law-There-is-No-Growth-Without-Struggle/
God uses the trials in this life to help shape His people into what He has created them to be, as is addressed in this priceless writing: http://www.cbcmidway.org/2011/01/08/bible-study-destined-for-the-throne/
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