Faith Is, Chapter Seventeen
We hear so much today from faith preachers saying that if you come to Jesus your life will be a bed of roses and all your problems will fade away. Well, I hate to be the one to burst your fantasy bubble but that is not what the Bible says will happen. Jesus said in Jn. 15:20-21,
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me."
He also said in Jn. 16:33,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
The Lord also said in Isaiah 43:1-2,
"Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
In this world we are going to have problems and be tried in every way that Jesus was tried but notice that He said that when we pass through these troubles they would not overcome us. He did not say, "If we pass through these troubles!" Why do they not overcome us? Because greater is He that is within us then he that is within the world. (1 Jn. 4:4) Problems come to us for one reason only and that is so we can overcome them through our faith in Him. Notice what John said about Jesus in 1 Jn. 3:8,
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
Have you ever notice that when Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him that the Spirit immediately led Him to be tried by the devil? Matt. 4:1 says,
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."
Why in the world did the Spirit lead Jesus to be tempted of the devil? He lead Him to face the devil in order that He might defeat the devil at his own game.
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
You might think, "Well, Jesus face these things so that I won't have to face them!" Really!" Jesus said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also."
When I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit I thought, "Oh boy, I can go among the Pentecostal and Charismatic believers and it will be a utopia." Boy, did I ever step into the fire. I quickly found out that no matter what church you attend you will find people with the same problems. There will be babes in Christ and mature ones in Christ and every thing in between. I found out that in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches they had many who were immature and selfish and judgmental just like every other church.
When I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I was asked to leave my church that I had been a member of all my life because I believed in miracles and speaking in tongues and many of the friends that I had known all my life turned against me and thought that I had lost my mind.
Why did these things happen to me? Because God had something better for me and through these disappointments and trials He was able to open the eyes of my heart and give me a chance to forgive them and show His mercy to them. Not because I am such a good guy but because He was now living His life through me. Just like the great Apostle Paul said in Gal. 2:20,
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
It seems that the closer we draw to the Lord the more our friends often misunderstand us because what we have learned is yet to be revealed to them. In these circumstances it give us the opportunity to show mercy to them and to have patience with them until the Lord reveals the same thing to them.
The church world has just celebrated the death of Jesus in their Easter programs and much can be learned about our walk with Him if we will just listen to the Spirit. Jesus made an unusual statement in Matt. 10:39,
"He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it."
Wow! Is that double talk or what? How can I by finding my life and then loosening it for Jesus sake find my life? If I will give up the way that I would normally live and live the way the Lord wants me to live I would find out that the life that He wants me to live is so much more rewarding to me than if I walk in my own desires and ways. Jesus also said in Luke 9:23,
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
What did He mean by taking up our cross and follow Him? Crosses come in many different packages and are not all the same. When I was asked to leave my church and many of my friends turned against me that was a cross that I had to bear but the beautiful thing about bearing a cross is that there is a resurrection that is coming. Keep this in mind the next time you have a cross to bear. While I had to leave many friends behind and many of my own family members the Lord gave me many new friends and over a period of time restored most of my original friends.
In the bearing of our crosses we should always remember that there is a resurrection coming and rejoice that we have been given a chance to bear some of the sufferings of the Lord! You might say, "Well, How can I bear some of the sufferings of the Lord?
You must realize that we are all a part of the body of Christ and Jesus is the head of this body and if that body is being persecuted it is effecting Him. Jesus said in Jn. 15:20-21,
"If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me."
I don't know what the cross is that you are having to bear today. It may be your boss or the ones you are working with. It may be your next door neighbor. It may be your own children. It may be a family member who is always bad mouthing you. Whatever your cross may be just remember what Jesus said in Matt. 5:38-42,
"You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away."
That's a strange statement. I am not to resist an evil person! Paul said in Rom. 12:20-21,
"Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Have you ever tried doing this to someone who refuses to forgive you for something you have done to them? It puts all kind of pressure on them if you admit that you were wrong and ask them to forgive you. When you do something good to them it baffles them as to why you would do such a thing.
Why do these trials and tribulations come our way? They come our way so we can be an overcomer. Jesus said in Rev. 3:21,
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
The Holy Spirit will lead you into trails and temptations in order for you to defeat them and every time you defeat them it makes you stronger. James said in James 1:2-4,
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
If you want to build up your muscles in order to be strong and you want to build up your stamina what do you do? You lift weights and jog. It's through opposition that you become strong. The same is true in your spiritual life. When you are faced with trials and problems that cause you to exercise your faith in God's word and you declare what the word of God says about your circumstance and not what your carnal mind wants to say, you overcome that circumstance and in doing this your faith is made stronger. The next time a similar circumstance comes along it will not be as hard to say no to it because you have overcome it before.
Today, if you are holding grudges against someone who has done you wrong in the past, let it go. If you continue to harbor these grudges they are going to effect the way you see other people and your judgments of other people are going to be controlled by the grudges that you have held onto.
I want to show you something that you almost never hear proclaimed from the pulpit. Jesus made a very profound statement in John 20:23,
"Whose so ever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose so ever sins you retain, they are retained."
Wow!!! Did you know that Jesus said this? Do you know what it is to remit something? It means to pardon or forgive someone! Jesus said that we have the power to forgive someone's sin. We know that Jesus had this power because He said in Matt. 9:5-7,
"For whether it is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up your bed, and go unto your house. And he arose, and departed to his house."
He said that we also have the same power to forgive others of their sins. But He also said that we could retain their sins! What does it mean to retain something? It means to continue to hold or to have memories of and to remind. In other words Jesus said that we have the power to hold onto someone's sin against us and they won't be forgiven. If you have trouble believing this look at what Jesus said about this in Mark 11:25-26,
"And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
WOW!!!! That puts the ball directly into our court, so to speak!!!! If I do not forgive you of your sins against me then my Father will not forgive me of my sins against Him!!! I guess He thinks that if I can't stand up and allow His love to be express through me to my brother then He will follow my example and not forgive me! I know that you will agree with me that we need His forgiveness because we have a tendency to make mistakes! We are the brothers and sisters of Jesus and our Father expects us to be just like Him. If we do not forgive others there is a terrible result of our not forgiving our brothers and sisters because we will not be forgiven. This requires accountability on our part.
So don't you think it is about time we forgive one another and refuse to speak of that offense again????? Brethren, this will set you free and who the Lord sets free is free indeed! Jesus said in John 8:36,
" If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."