Sad but true fact. Many of our church goers who attend places of worship in the so called developed western word have no concept of the battles that they as born again believers will face. We are told that our struggle is not against our fellow brothers and sisters but against the spiritual forces from the dark places.
But such words of scripture go sailing over the heads of today's 'secularized church goer.' To talk to these modern day disciples of their struggles they would be aghast of such talk for such concepts would have no meaning to them. To further drop into the conversation that our struggles are not from what we see and know but from the forces of evil.
At this point they most likely would roll their eyes and move on. As they walked away they would give thanks to God for their successful life, their high paid salaried job, their mansion, their 2015 Crossover SUV and all the trappings of western society. They would see themselves as blessed but as to yourselves, they regulate you to another planet.
This is, as I see it, one of the major deceptions of today's western Christianity. Prosperity Teaching has taken the basic truths of the gospel and with a twist of arrogance and pride teaches that we all are destined to be 'little gods' free from poverty, illness and hardship. Hence we are to be reigning like kings on earth rather than waiting to be called home. Is not this deception too good to be true? Yet the angel of light has convinced many of this so called truth.
I wish to draw you attention to these verses found in 2 Timothy 2: NIV
If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him,he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
These passages are preceded by the phrase; 'This is a trust worthy saying.' It is further introduced with the words from Paul: This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. The following verses are warnings against false teachers and teachings.
I think you can see my drift. The gospel that Paul received from God by the Holy Spirit when he spent his three years in the wilderness contains very much elements of suffering. The fact is that if we desire to reign as kings with him we must first endure. The Greek word for endure has the underlying concept that one is suffering either from poverty, illness, persecution etc.
I believe this true saying was one of the first gospel hymns in the early church that brought much strength, comfort and courage to the believers that left them in no doubt that following Christ was also a pathway of pain, anguish and struggles, but with a difference, for they had inner peace and a joy that they could not describe.
This biblical truth of suffering, in contrast to the prosperity teaching, is found imprinted in the pages of our scriptures that if we read the verses with open uncluttered dialogue with God via the Holy Spirit, we would see these truths. If we wish to reign with Christ we must be prepared to suffer with Christ. But not only to suffer but to struggle with demonic forces; which bring us back to the beginning of this blog. Since Christ suffered; should not his students suffer also, for the disciple is not above the master? Since Christ struggled; should not his students also struggle, for the disciple is not above his master?
It is only by the grace of God and his forbearance that this deception continues, for if God allowed a 'Job experience' to strike these deceived believers, they would be in danger of losing their crown and inheritance. God through his long suffering and loving kindness wishes all to come to a full scriptural salvation and he will wait at his providence.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 byBiblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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You are right John. For me this ties in rather well with a prayer you shared on the wall a while back too - at any rate, it fits with the thinking I'd been having in relation to that prayer.
Even though we are not, most of us here, rich people, we are so well provided for in comparison with many parts of the world. Our basic needs are met and as a result our struggles are even more so "not from what we see and know but from the forces of evil" - the guard needs to stay up.
I pray that we will "stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you."
Thank you for this 'watchman on the wall' blog John and God bless,