For The Sake Of Righteousness

16 Aug

Doing what’s right seems to have results. The world commonly teaches, when you do good things, good results come back. Even in the religious atmosphere, “The righteous are blessed” with wealth, praise from men, status, and favor. However, this is not in line with God’s Kingdom to those who do desire to live a godly life united with Christ. Agony, pain, distress, hardship, persecution, are all part of the deal with being part of the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as it says,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:9-12).

Before we can dig into this kind of suffering, we must address there are counterfeit Christ-like sufferings. As human beings with a frail nature, we are vulnerable to natural sufferings like sickness, injuries, getting fired, losing a loved one, having a stressful day, and so on. Suffering in this way is simply a part of life and something we have to deal with from time to time, since naturally we are able to overcome and recover from these sufferings. Human suffering is a natural result of being human.

Then there is another kind of suffering. This suffering is not necessarily natural, but supernatural. It’s a suffering that is an affliction from demons or evil spirits. This kind of suffering is demonic. Whether it be emotionally, mentally, bodily, and or spiritual suffering; what is taking place is demons have been given ground to oppress. Passivity is the main reason for suffering demonically, although there are other possible reasons. The way to discern this kind of suffering is if the affliction and suffering does not naturally recover, and has no results or fruit. No matter what is done, the affliction remains. This suffering is obviously not to be accepted, but refused. Many people passively allow demonic oppression because they think it is authentic suffering for God, when God is hoping that they realize what’s really going on. This kind of suffering involves deliverance, and discovering what caused the oppression. To conclude here, Jesse Penn-Lewis wrote this, “Suffering directly caused by evil spirits may be discriminated from the true fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, by a complete absence of result, either in fruit, victory, or ripening in Spiritual growth.”

Now that the counterfeit of sufferings are addressed, we can press onto what Christ-like suffering is. “For the sake of righteousness'” is the most important key phrase here. Christian suffering is an active choice of doing the Father’s will. Christian suffering is not merely purposefully choosing “suffering” over God’s will; but purposefully choosing God’s will regardless of what happens. Many Christians can think that any suffering means suffering for God. Or, that making suffering choices or these certain “self-sacrificing” decisions to suffer for God is Christian suffering, this is not always so. That kind of suffering is merely “self-suffering.” For example, if you give away all your money and possessions to suffer for God. This is futile suffering, since now you can’t provide for yourself, offer hospitality, or do other services for God that require money and now you will have to be financially dependent on others to take care of you.

Christ is the example of suffering. He humbled Himself from His glorious position, and came into the flesh-likeliness of man, to accomplish His Father’s will. The will of His Father was to be fulfilled, and part of that will involved suffering. The difference between the first example, and Christ’s is that Christ did not merely suffer in vain, His sufferings bore fruit while He suffered to achieve a goal, namely the Father’s will to bring about salvation for the elect.

Christ like suffering is also supernatural, but in a godly way. “When others ‘revile’ and ‘persecute’.” Revile in Greek gives the idea of defaming, finding fault and harsh criticism. Persecute in Greek gives the idea of follow-after, press-forward, pursue, and ensue. Persecution is not solely being ignored, but involves a coming after, a pursuit to destroy, cause distress and pain. Alas, the question arises, who pursues Christians to cause distress, revile them, and make false accusations? The answer is, the world.

The world and it’s culture is at direct conflict with Jesus Christ of Nazareth’s culture. Therefore, when following after the Lord, the steps lead one by one into a deeper tension with the world. And soon enough, your identity will be recognized from others. Your choice of loving the Father, your love of Christ, always choosing the sake of righteousness, will soon result into Christ like suffering.

Discerning the sufferings of our lives is seriously important. Since you don’t want to claim you are suffering for Christ when you are suffering from the flu. And you don’t want to suffer from demons. But you want to do what is right, namely the will of God in Jesus Christ of Nazareth our Lord, and if you suffer, and are persecuted for doing so… well...yours is the Kingdom of God. Rejoice!

Do you have the correct understanding of suffering? What do you think about what true suffering is? And, if you suspect you are suffering demonically, we at Pam Sheppard Ministries offer deliverance counseling to bring about freedom, by knowledge of the truth. Contact 888-818-1117 or email if you have any concerns or questions.

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