DISCERNING YOUR SUFFERING

Updated: Jan 29



Suffering is a commandment given to the Church by the Father. This is strangely a controversial topic even though the scriptures are very plain concerning it.


Rom 8:17-18

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint- heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


1Pe 3:14

But and if ye suffer for righteousness 'sake, happy are ye:and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;


1Pe 4:1

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind:for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;


2Ti 2:12

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:if we deny him, he also will deny us:


I pray I have made my point. Many preachers yoke the church with the promises God had given Israel, however this ought not to be. The Church has been given a whole new testament to be governed by. Some preach we are the head and not the tail and that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous. Yes this is true, but we shall receive that wealth in the millennium. Right now the sons of God are suffering servants sent as lambs among wolves. God promised Israel to be wealthy and rich as long as they obeyed Him, however to the church, God promises suffering for those that are obedient and he subjects them to wait on the hope of glory.


THE PURPOSE OF SUFFERING


2Co 4:8-18

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus 'sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

...

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Herein the purpose of suffering is revealed. In order for anyone to enter into heaven they MUST be tried and tested and proven to be worthy of the Kingdom. A holy life in the midst of suffering is the proof that we are worthy. When the saints of God are tried and tested then the life of Christ within them is manifested. It is the nature of those from the world to run from suffering, and to sin, however this is exactly what differentiates those that are God's from those that are not. A son of God proves his love for the Father when he chooses to stand righteously even though it may be more comfortable not to. This brings glory to God.


This is why the saints of old were martyred. They chose to stand for righteousness even unto death - therein their love was made perfect.


It is important that we understand the kind suffering that God takes glory in. It is when we suffer for Christ sake that God is glorified. There may be times when we have made mistakes in our lives. We may have made bad choices or have sinned and are paying the consequences for those mistakes. This is not suffering for Christ sake. We may have bills to pay because we spent too much, this is not suffering for Christ sake. Suffering because of a lack of wisdom is not suffering for Christ sake, we should take those sufferings patiently (1Pet 2:20).


Suffering for Christ sake is the suffering that comes upon the believer because of their faith in Jesus Christ and resolve never to sin against Him. This suffering may come in various forms. It may come in persecutions, abuse/torture, it may even be illness .It basically includes anything stirred up by the devil to get the believer to doubt/blame God and become discouraged.


1Pe 2:19-20

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.


God actually thanks us for suffering for Christ sake. It is simply saying that we have been trusted by the Father to glorify Him in that particular situation. God does not trust everyone to stand in the faith. The scripture says He will never give us more than we can bear. Therefore the sufferings in our lives have been orchestrated by God that we may, by them, give Him glory. When we live righteously in the midst of suffering we show principalities and powers (the devil and his kingdom) that we truly love the Father.


James 5:10-11

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy


Let us consider the life of Job, seeing that he is given as an example to the church.


Job 1:1, & 6-12

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

...

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord


This may be hard for some of us to believe, but it is indeed God that orchestrates our suffering. Nothing can happen to us unless God allows it. The extent to which the devil causes us to suffer is determined by God. When we suffer for Christ sake, it is because we were considered worthy to manifest Christ on the earth, by love and holiness. If we are not tried or tested, there is no proof that our love for the Father is absolute. This is why the devil asked God if Job's fear of the Lord was for nought. He was in a bubble that the Lord had protected Him by. Therefore the devil could do nothing unto him, however it was the Father who suggested his perfect servant, Job, to be tempted of the devil. We must have the testimony that no matter what comes our way we will always obey God.


PERFECTION - To obey God in all things, at all times.


You may question your ability to be perfect. It was Christ who died for us and has come to live in us. It is the indwelling of the Christ that has made us perfect. We are complete in Him, who is a perfect God. We manifest this perfection by our obedience to Him in all things and at all times. (Matt 5:48)


Some of us may look back and consider the fact that even though we may have had the Holy Spirit, there were times that we were disobedient. Be of good cheer, all it takes is that you make a resolve now, to honour the Father, and you will walk in perfection once more. Walking in perfection/obedience is called walking in the Spirit(Gal 5:25). All it takes is for one to agree with God's will and way at all times. This is the power of God given to us. The ability to obey.


Jude 1:24

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen


If we obey Him, we won't ever have to fall. When we obey, Jesus will live His life through us and this will save our souls (Rom 5:10).


THE PERSPECTIVE OF SUFFERING


Suffering must be seen from the perspective of salvation. Jesus Christ is in us, and He is a suffering servant. It is by His suffering in us that He is revealed unto the world and glorified. This is why it is given to the sons to suffer.


2 Cor 12:9-10

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong


Christ is in our bodies. When these bodies are destroyed because of suffering, it is then the power of Christ is revealed. When the flesh is undermined, rejected, teased, battered, abused and despitefully used; it is at that point that the true strength of Christ is seen. But for Christ being in the flesh we could not walk righteously in the midst of all these, therefore when we manifest Christ in the midst, it serves as proof that He is indeed alive.


Those that are in the flesh according to Rom 7:5 and Rom 8:8 (unsaved) cannot please God because sin worked in their bodies. When faced with suffering they would ultimately deny God and glorify the devil. However, those that are Christ prove that they are not in the flesh (Rom 8:9) because they manifest their ability to please God.


SUFFERING - A MANIFEST TOKEN


2Th 1:4-12

4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


This scripture says that suffering is a righteous token, but what exactly does that mean? To help us understand this let us turn to Genesis.


Gen 9:11-15

11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.


After the flood of Noah, God had made a covenant with man, and all creation. The covenant was that He would not destroy the earth and all living things by the waters of a flood again. However, the rainbow served as a token to God and living things of this promise. Now every time that rainbow was seen it would serve as a reminder to God and the living things of the earth that He would not destroy the earth again by water.


This token was given as a visual representation of the God's promise. The promise of God itself was and still is unseen, however when we see the rainbow we have evidence of the promise. The rainbow is a natural proof that creation has that God remembers His promise. When humanity, plants, and animals see the rainbow, they will be set at peace because they would be comforted to know that God remembers His promise. We know that God will not flood the earth tomorrow because we have the token of the rainbow that reminds Him of His covenant.


A token is therefore a visual/visible representation of the promises of God. A token serves as the proof that God remembers His promises, and the purpose of the token is to comfort our hearts in knowing that the promises of God are sure.


Now let us read 2 Thessalonians again.


2Th 1:4-5, 6-7

4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:


Suffering therefore is a natural, visible proof of the righteous judgement of God.


God will judge both the dead and the living, according to their deeds in the flesh. The scripture above lets us know God's judgement concerning suffering. Suffering is a physical manifestation of the promise of God. When the believer sees the manifestation of an opportunity to suffer for Christ's sake He can rejoice in knowing that God has counted them worthy of the Kingdom.


6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels

8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;


It is important to note that, suffering also serves as a token for the offender. When we or any man cause others to suffer for Christ's sake, it is the visible proof to us (or them) of the damnation we will receive in the judgment if we do not repent quickly.


*Verses 7, 10-12

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels

...

10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must see this in light of the scriptures. The bible says if we do not suffer with Christ we will not reign with Him. It also says the suffering of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:17-18). There is a reason suffering is always paralleled to the glory of the millennium. God has established it that our sufferings are nothing to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us at the coming of Christ. Therefore our suffering serves as a token (visible proof of the invisible promises of God) that God has already judged us worthy of unfathomable blessings and glory in the millennium. He gives us the suffering that we may know that His promise to glorify us is sure. Even as the earth rests knowing that they will not be destroyed when they see the rainbow, likewise the believers rejoice when they see their sufferings (for Christ's sake) on earth, because they see that God has judged them worthy to be greatly glorified in the reign of Christ.


We cannot enter the Kingdom without this token. We must be able to say I have suffered righteously (without complaint, rejoicing and in full agreement with the will of God) for Christ here on the earth. Jesus suffered during His life for our sakes, will we do the same for Him, and for others?


I hope your heart is rejoicing even as mine is.


With that said, suffering is something we ought to embrace. It is for this reason the scripture tells to rejoice in our sufferings, because by them God speaks to us, telling us He is pleased. He only allows those that He trusts to suffer for Christ and He has chosen you!


This is why the disciples could rejoice while being beaten and scourged, because they knew that if God would have them suffer to this degree, the riches of glory they would receive in the millennium will be so much greater. God trusted them to glorify Him even if their flesh was torn apart. WHAT AN HONOUR. This is why Peter could, at his death, beg to be crucified upside-down, because God had seen Him as so worthy that He would predetermine that he should die in a similar fashion to Jesus Christ. This is the hope of glory.


Now, we need to ask ourselves, can God trust us to suffer righteously for His sake?


DISCERNING OUR SUFFERING


I implore you to take this section very seriously, because if you embrace it you will never sin again if you truly desire not to (and if you have the Holy Ghost).


Luke 14:26-27

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple


Each believer has a cross designed specifically for them. In order to be considered a disciple of Christ, we must honor God's influence above every other, whether it be the influence of our family, friends or our own selves. If these influences challenges Christ, we ought to hate and deny it.


Self denial is a big stumbling block for many. When we deny ourselves of any other life outside of the life of Christ is when we truly honor God. In doing this we may come up upon situations, circumstances and relationships that may be against our comfort. However it is our responsibility as believers to allow the life of Christ to be lived through us.


Every believer has to be tried and tested to enter the Kingdom. With that said, it is God who fashions our suffering. He knows what we don't like, He knows what we can bear and what we cannot bear, He also knows what would usually get us to sin. These are the exact situations that we are gonna find presenting themselves in our lives, because we must prove to all creation that we have decided to please God, no matter what.


The devil knows what it usually takes to get us to curse God, so in his attack he will stir up situations that would cause us to do just that. However, when we see them we must look at them from this perspective. God never gives us anything more than we can bear. This means that God believes that, based on your knowledge of Him, you can walk righteously in the whatever situation He gives unto you. He knows what each believer can bear. Some can bear some things that others can't, but if he gives it you can bear it. Our sufferings must rather be seen as an opportunity to glorify God.


Discerning your suffering is crucial in our walk with Christ. When I say discern your suffering I am speaking to the fact that we each have a cross to bear, that has been specifically designed for us. If we can discern the sufferings of that cross, and embrace it then we will walk holy for the rest of our lives.


Rom 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose


Both the good and the bad in our lives work together for good, if we are a believer. If I can discern the trend of suffering in my life and simply embrace that this is the cross given to me, this is when I will experience the power of the Comforter.


For Example,


Tulip is a young lady. She was left by both parents when she was born. Raised in a foster home. She was abused by her foster parents and often teased at school. This would often cause her to question God and blame Him for her life. However one day in her young years she gets saved. Her anger and bitterness leaves, and she for the first time feels love. However, she notices that since she received the Holy Ghost, her suffering has increased. Teachers pick at her, and students ridicule her because of her love for God. She notices that people in authority would attempt to hinder her studies, all because they did not like her. She is very smart, but she finds she only excels in the classes of which the teachers like her.


She is now an adult and has suffered greatly. She has been had married and has suffered a divorce, because of her integrity in God. Even in college the abuse of authority continued. Lecturers would grade her according to their grudges against her, and would often try their best to get her to fail. This has often caused her to question God.


"Why me? Why do people keep doing this to me? People always try to use me and abuse me, and use their power to undermine me"


These thoughts have caused her to despise her life of hardship. Even now she works as a professional for the government and is often lied on and abused.


There is one thing she notices however, no matter how hard people have tried to come up against her God always vindicated her. No matter who tried to destroy her, she always prevailed and excelled. She was never one to fight back, but she always sat quietly and watched God fight for her. She has discerned the faithfulness of God in her life.


Despite all of this she still has an issue with her suffering. Why is it that God allowed such a terrible life to happen to her even since she was a child? Why is she always used and abused?


----


Tulip simply needs to discern her cross. She needs to agree with the reality that suffering is a commandment. Tulip needs to discern that her suffering is emotional. It will involve rejection, and being despitefully used. She is not being beaten like Peter was, she however suffers for Christ in a different way. If she would simply discern that the cross that God has designed for her to carry is one of rejection and abuse, and embrace that, it is then that she will experience the power of the Comforter.


She then needs to apply all the knowledge above concerning suffering. That every trying time is a manifestation of God's heart concerning her. He has judged her worthy of the Kingdom, and gives her visible proof every time she is rejected. When she can identify the things she has suffered for Christ's sake, that is her token that God has judged her worthy of the Kingdom and not only that but worthy of added blessings of riches and glory.


I hope we are seeing the power of discerning your suffering.


And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me


Paul was able to discern his suffering. His cross was to be buffeted and tortured every where he would go to preach the gospel. At first he resented it, but when he was able to discern his suffering, the purpose of them, and the reward of them his response was;


Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me


This will set at liberty the sons of God. The only stronghold the devil has on the sons of God, is their rejection of suffering. If we would as our Master did, accept our cross and say not our will but God's be done, it is then that the angels of heaven will come and strengthen us.


TYPES OF SUFFERING


I must say there are different types of suffering. There are different ways in which we suffer. It could be illness. Many do not believe that a believer can suffer because of illnesses but this is very much true. There were many people that Paul left sick, for example Timothy when he was instructed to drink wine for his stomach illness. Yes God is a healer, but there are times when a believer is appointed to suffer sickness and disease.


There are times a believer may find the recurrence of sicknesses, diseases and/or physical harm being done to their bodies. This is so they can manifest Christ in a position that a sinner would not. Their peace in sickness will then prove the power of Christ within them.


One can also suffer poverty for the sake of Christ. Paul said, he knew how to be hungry and how to abound. There are certain times that we may suffer lack because we decide to retain our integrity in God. This is also suffering for Christ sake. One thing we know for sure however is that God will provide, as He deems fit.


Here are a list of the types of sufferings.


2 Cor 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong


INFIRMITIES - Suffer harm to the flesh, or suffer because of the flesh; An ailment that deprives or hinders someone of enjoying or accomplishing what they would like to do; Weakness or illness.

REPROACHES - To be despitefully used or abused; to cause, damage or loss; to insult

NECESSITIES - To suffer compelling needs requiring timely action

PERSECUTIONS - to be slandered or defrauded or attacked in word with efforts to seeking to punish

DISTRESSES - suffer peril, threats, danger, or even death; a difficult circumstance.


...and these are all for Christ's sake


A good way to discern your suffering is to discern the trend of trials in your life. How do we usually suffer? If we are able to do so, then whatever our suffering is, accept it, embrace it and rejoice in it; because it is our sufferings that serve as a token that will cause us to see the face of Jesus Christ in peace.


- with love

His Apostle,

Kareem Flowers


Written on: December 2015


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