[i]The purpose of sharing this spontaneous exchange, is the exposition on the enduring qualities of faith, hope and love. It is a small part of a much longer conversation but, we thought worth sharing, for mutual edification.
Your contributions are invited.[/i]
[color=0000FF]Is it really necessary to suffer to go through to glory? I've always thought that glory is in His presence and no matter how we get there, when we get there, we'll be in glory. [/color]
You may be bringing up an interesting discussion point. I was comforting a brother tonight...... He said there are times when it would be less painful to just give up. I feel the Holy Spirit gave me insight for him. I responded by saying "Brother , being on the fence is what is causing the pain. You want to give up, but you know you can't... but you hold out the option. Instead, bury your heart in love, or faith, or hope, and let God comfort your pain. In the presence of God there is a sanctuary that we Christians don't talk about enough."
And here is the point that relates to your comment. While we are promised physical suffering, we do not need to spiritually suffer. That is the aim of Paul's exhortation to "Faith, hope, and love. These three remain." I explained that we do experience spiritual suffering, but nevertheless, we are not told we must. (Unlike physical suffering.) This certainty of spiritual sanctuary is proven with such promises as "all things work together", or "Jesus is the amen to all God's promises", or "You are shielded by God's power until the coming of the redemption."
So I guess I would answer that I think you are right. We may be imprisoned, or abandoned by friends, or face terminal illness, which are all earthly suffering. None of these things need inflict or subject us to spiritual suffering. In fact, I believe one of the values of physical suffering is to drive us further into faith, hope, and love of God. This is Paul and Silas singing in prison, or the disciples thanking God that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Gospel.
[color=0000FF]I have a lot of sympathy for the brother's desire to give up. There was a very rough time some years ago, when my life seemed so difficult, that I longed to be transported straight to heaven. In fact, the solution to pressure from the other person, was to tighten my boundaries further and to stop laying myself open to be further harmed in spirit and emotion. Eventually, I was desperate to be healed of spiritual and mental injury and the Lord graciously opened the way for me to understand what I needed and how to get it.[/color]
I can't respond (yet) to all you brought up... however I did want to clarify something about being on the fence.
For me the "fence" I was referring to was not an outward position, but a heart position. Paul wrote, "These 3 remain, faith hope, and love." And so we know there are these 3 things that do not have a breaking point! That is to say, our marriages may fail, our businesses may file bankruptcy, and our loved ones may die, but faith hope and love remain. We may experience failure in all our outward supports in life...even in our churches.... yet the sanctuary that is abiding in Christ need never fail.
Faith, hope, and love... these three do not have breaking points. They remain. They remain because the object that they are rooted in remains...Jesus Christ the finisher of our faith.
We can't hear how perfectly simple this is, because we turn the Gospel into a series of spiritual obligations that burden our acceptance of these things. Chambers quotes Isaiah, "Look to me and be saved for I am God" He points out, "It's not look to me and be saved, but you are saved." This is the sanctuary that is the Christians alone. Just like Jesus walked through the walls of Paul's prison, or a communist prison, or he can also walk through the walls of our despair and pain and join us in our loneliest moments.
Along these lines, whenever we talk about becoming healed we need to steer away from a sense that this means restored and whole in ourselves. The sanctuary, the abiding, the union with Christ is what makes us healthy. We are never healed in any self-sustaining sense. We can never be healed by Jesus and then detached from Jesus. We can never have our hope and faith energized with the aim of feeling strong enough to uncouple ourselves from His heart. Our transfusion from His Life into our veins can never come to an end. Healing processes that strive for such a goal are completely amiss of the Gospel. We may be delivered from sin... but we are never delivered to ourselves. Again we should not think that Jesus is setting us free in the universe... the chains holding us to the law of sin and death have been broken so that we can be grafted into Himself.
[color=0000FF]That is a [i]beautiful meditation[/i], bro, which I would like to post in SI ... It is a powerful affirmation of [i]experienced truth[/i].
In fact, it illuminates something for me which I had never thought of, and in a way, by speaking directly to it in this sentence 'We can never be healed by Jesus and then detached from Jesus.' you have highlighted that instinctive urge humans have, to keep breaking away from God the moment we have been 'fixed' and to try to 'do' all by ourselves - which God seeks to quell for ever, by bringing us into union with Himself.
It occurs to me that in directly addressing the possibility that one might think of breaking away from Jesus after one has been healed, you are more deeply plunging yourself into that sanctuary you've found in Him. I do see that all healing flows from this 'place'..... So my testimony is, that the healing He can impart, and does add real substance to the inner man. It not only recreates, it restores, strengthens and nurtures both the eternal and the natural constitution of the person - body and soul and spirit and mind can all be permanently changed. We might say 'into His likeness' and that would be valid, but there is also a work of completing the uniqueness of the individual as a human being made in His image physically as well as spiritually. [/color]
Do you think others would really benefit from those thoughts on SI? If so, you are welcome to couch them as you see fit.
[color=0000FF]Thanks, bro... [/color]
[b]OK Everyone..... please [i]do[/i] add your thoughts[/b]. :-D
(I hope you have some...)
[i](If anyone is wondering, yes, this was edited for simplicity, and to reserve parts of it private, with respect for the participants.)[/i]