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   Why Christians Suffer

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Suffering for God and Christian Response to Suffering

The Natural Man

Lesson 1 of 7

In this lesson we are going to again talk about the natural man or the nature of man. I know this is fully covered in the course “The Flesh: Win the Battle for Your Mind”, but you need to hear this teaching more than once. It’s a teaching we need to come back to often. You need to know who the natural man (or woman) is and why we are susceptible to using the natural man to fellowship with God and with each other. There is a distinction God wants you to make in your mind that will help you understand how the Enemy works your faith from a different rhythm than God does.

Let’s start off by talking about rhythm. There is rhythm in everything: in music, in how you walk, how you work, how you approach problems. In nature, every ecosystem has a natural rhythm to it. Forests for example are in constant change with trees losing their leaves, dying, and sprouting new growth.

Although we all may feel that we march to the beat of our own drummer, we are in fact actually marching to the beat of the kingdom we are tethered (joined) to. The natural man and the spiritual man follow

  • two different kingdoms,
  • two different frames of knowledge and hence,
  • two different rhythms.

Natural Rhythm of the Flesh

When God talks to us about the natural man, He is speaking to us about the F L E S H. “For they that are after the FLESH do mind the things of the FLESH; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)

Here again God is giving us the contrast of 2 kingdoms, that of the flesh and that of the Spirit and the labor of the mind with either kingdom. If there are 2 different kingdoms there are 2 different rhythms. The natural man will follow (with his mind) the rhythm (pattern) of the flesh and the spiritual man will follow (with his mind) the rhythm (pattern) of the Spirit.

Learning to discern the pattern (rhythm) of each kingdom is important if you want to gain God’s perspective on suffering. The natural man has one perspective and God has another perspective. The natural man follows one rhythm and the spiritual man follows another.

It’s easy to open your Bible and point to a scripture and say, “Well, that’s what I believe. It’s in the Bible and I believe it.” But at the same time your mind is consenting to the rightness of scripture, there is another record that is present in the soul that flows as a strong undercurrent in the mind. Satan wants THAT record of the soul (the record of the flesh) to remain concealed. He wants you to be unaware of its presence because he hides in it while he works to dominate the mind by getting you to use the record of your soul in place of the record of Jesus Christ.

This is perhaps the most powerful and damaging secret the Deceiver has been able to hide from the church. The reason I am spending time talking about this is because it comes into play every time you are in a situation of suffering. Satan draws you in to examine your suffering by placing a magnifying glass in your hand and directing you to the map of your soul so you can follow the trail of your suffering, looking for the path to God’s blessing.

I want you to fully appreciate what I am saying so that you can take the right action to stop the Deceiver from sabotaging your faith. Step-by-step you’ll learn about the record of your soul, you’ll learn to identify the 5 facets of the flesh, and understand why God did not assign this record for faith.

The Four Different Names God Assigned to the Flesh

It will be helpful to first get familiar with the different names that God gave to the flesh: The flesh is called (1) the natural man, (2) the old man, and (3) the carnal mind and (4) the brute beast.

1.The flesh is also called “The natural man”. (we talked about this already)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

2.The flesh is also called “The old man”.

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” (Ephesians 4:22)

  • The old man is the old foundations, the old thinking patterns gained by experience with the record of the soul before coming to Christ (coming into covenant with God). The old man dies as these thinking patterns are surrendered to God and subdued by grace.

3.The flesh is also called “The carnal mind”.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:4)

  • The carnal mind uses the record of the soul to reason faith. He communicates to God on the basis of his own record and need. This makes him carnal. His logic is formed by this record and stands as a barrier to grace.

4.The flesh is also called “The brute beast”.

“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves,” (Jude 1:10)

  • The brute beast describes the manner in which the natural man, with his carnal mind draws from the record of his own soul as instinctively as an animal would express his nature. Instinctive behavior is a fixed pattern. Animals simply follows the record God placed within them to fulfill.
But God does not want us to be like a brute beast, living by instinct. God wants us to live by His knowledge. This requires us to separate the record of our soul from the record of Jesus Christ. Here we see another POWER, the power of GRACE manifested—to tame the brute beast.

The 5 Facets of the Flesh – The Power of the Natural Man

The natural man is the old man, which is the carnal mind, which is the brute beast, which is the flesh. Now that we have seen how God describes the flesh we need to understand each of the 5 facets of the flesh. These facets are how the natural man, the old man, the carnal mind expresses itself. The 5 facets of the flesh is the record of the soul.

The 5 facets of the flesh [1] are

: (1) the knowledge of the world, (2) the signature map of the soul, (3) the God-Code, (4) the moral code/center, and (5) the fruits of iniquity, all of which work with (a) human aspiration, (b) human principle, and (c) the imagination to build a testimony to oneself.

These 5 facets are what the natural man works with in this world to function in the flesh. It is man’s fallen nature. It is what we gained by our first birth into this world. They are called “powers” because man uses them to express himself, sustain himself, advance himself, and establish his identity.

When believers come into the faith and are not given the record of Christ for their faith to work with, they will retool their own record and use it for faith by attributing to it a God-likeness or God-identity. For example, you might hear someone say that God gave them their signature skills, talents, and gifts and God wants them to use these skills for Him. It is easy for the mind to imagine faith to be about fulfilling that purpose. The variety of signature skills and talents offer many life situations that are the colors that are used to paint a picture of who we are.

How Personal Relationship Fellowships Are exploitative

It has been easy for the Deceiver to build a whole system of religion and philosophy around those goals. No doubt you have heard about believers seeking to build “personal relationships” with other Christians as a means to comfort and support each other. The word “personal” should send red flags up for you. It indicates the fellowship is centered on the 5 facets of the flesh. You’ll find these types of fellowships exploitative because the Enemy uses them to help you express who you are (your signature skills) rather than express Christ.

It is quite normal for persons involved in these fellowships to confide in each other, sharing their deepest concerns and most personal issues, looking to be understood and to be understanding. There are many aspects to personal fellowship groups that appeal to the natural man and this is why they are so popular and so very addictive. It is desirable to be in amongst people who accept you as you are and don’t pass judgment, listen well to your fears, and help you put things into perspective.

That almost sounds good doesn’t it? 1 Thessalonians 5:14 is often quoted as the biblical purpose assigned to personal fellowship groups. That scripture reads, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”

Yes, God wants us to edify, comfort, and exhort one another. It’s true, God does not want us being judgmental. And yes, God does want us to be patient with each other. But this is done through the priesthood as believers express the one mind of Christ. As the same foundation knowledge is set in each believer we are all drawing from the one record of Christ, and being found in the unity of the faith, we express Christ according to the grace God gives each member. The Enemy would have us ignore the foundation of truth God placed in Jesus Christ and each draw from the record of our own souls for fellowship and use scripture to confirm this drive of the flesh.

Christians are led to believe this is be the will of God because they experience how productive it is to use the powers of the flesh. You will receive a huge witness from your fellow man for driving faith like that; and like I said, it’s very addictive.

The suffering that is common to man is often the topic of discussion. At times, suffering might be defined as the inability to fulfill those things (of your signature) God designed for you. When believers share this frustration they assign faith to move “blockages” and support one another in this mindset.

Do you see why it is so important for God to teach you about the natural man? To understand the natural man is to understand the flesh. To understand the flesh is to understand the 5 facets of the flesh: The flesh operates with (1) the knowledge of this world, (2) the signature map of the soul, (3) the God-Code, (4) the moral code, and (5) the fruits of iniquity.

It’s true, we all fall into a natural rhythm with these 5 facets of our nature every day. That means that your mind is naturally inclined to flow in rhythm with these 5 facets of your nature. This is why God likens the flesh to a brute beast. As stated earlier, just as animals live by instinct, so man (void of grace) lives by instinct, that which is “common to man” (1Corinthians 10:13).

This means that when it comes to responding to suffering, believers will follow the rhythm of their own nature rather than the rhythm of the Spirit. God does not operate with the flesh, He operates with the record of Christ.

I see the wheels are not turning for all of you just yet. Some of you might still be thinking, “What’s wrong with getting together to fellowship to support one another?” I’ll say it again, fellowship is in the priesthood. Fellowship means an exchange of substance. That’s what God designed the priesthood for. We each exchange the grace and truth of God and God reciprocates in kind, giving us His peace and much more to share.

We are called to be “good stewards of the grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10) not good stewards of our signature. Until you learn the difference between the record of and the record of Jesus Christ you’ll never get what true fellowship is all about.

The Record of Man

All 5 facets of the flesh together make up the “Rhythm of the Flesh”. The natural man lives in rhythm with these powers. The natural man lives to express them, he defines life and truth by these powers. And this is the reason why the 5 facets of the flesh is also called the  “Record of Man” or the “Record of the Flesh” or the “Record of the Soul”. It is so named (record) because we draw from this testimony to weigh and judge what is true, what is real, and then we  proceed to build faith upon this record because we have taken confidence in it.

What the spirit of Antichrist did was to take the record of man to counterfeit the record of Jesus Christ. I've heard believers say that they have been harassed by the spirit of Antichrist (known as the Deceiver, the devil, the spirit of this world, and Satan) for decades. They’ve read everything they could on the subject and just can’t seem to break that yoke. My friend, if you have found yourself in that place, don’t despair, once you see the Deceiver’s counterfeit for what it is, you will no longer be his prisoner.

The distinctions I am teaching you right now will become more clear to you when we talk about why Christians suffer. The natural man will answer this question by falling back on the rhythm of the flesh (that’s what the spirit of Antichrist desire for you). The natural man will draw from the record of man [2]. The memory pattern is there for this to happen and this is why God does not want us building on this old foundation. 

We can understand now why Apostle Paul said that the things we are tempted with are the things that are “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). People are naturally inclined to follow this record of the flesh because this is the testimony of their first birth. It is also the testimony of the transgression, which makes it the testimony of Satan, which truth addresses for cleansing.

The Holy Spirit will Challenge and Remove the Testimony of Satan

The purpose of your daily cycles of growth is to allow the Holy Spirit to challenge and remove this testimony of Satan from the soul, to heal the soul of the damage Satan inflicted, and to replace the fruit of iniquity with the fruit of the Spirit.

Yes, you can be sure about this. Jesus said it, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much FRUIT; so shall ye be my disciples,” (John 15:8). God intended that faith be focused upon bearing the fruit of the Spirit in the soul. Once you are clear about God’s purpose then you can focus your faith on Jesus.

When you pray in tongues the Holy Spirit is making intercession for these infirmities of the soul (the abuse suffered at the hands of Satan) and then the Holy Spirit plots a course for your healing (Romans 8:26-29; 2 Peter 1:2-4) that the fruit of Christ might be engrafted into the soul. God sets the scenarios of your testing to bring to your attention the cords of false knowledge He is severing to show you that Satan’s promise of peace and security in the flesh is a lie.

Upon hearing this, a person might then make the assumption that because God sets the scenarios for us to experience the severing, then to give a helping hand to our brethren in time of need would result in hijacking God’s plan. No. That is not how it works. A kind word or deed is always appreciated. Don’t worry about hijacking God’s plan. Once you understand clearly the cycles of growth and the connection of true charity to the priesthood of each believer you’ll see that this paradox exists only when the record of man is being used for faith.

God will not ask you to make those kinds of decisions. If you have an opportunity to do good, do so. But remember it is in your priesthood that the supernatural power of grace multiplies and God’s truth receives the witness of the Spirit and the Spirit makes Christ living to the understanding and you overcome yourself, the world, and the devil. Don’t worry if you don’t get that right away. You will soon walk confidently in this knowledge as you keep working with it and remain consistent in your priesthood [3].

You’ll have to really pay attention to how the Deceiver uses the record of man to speak to you about God’s will. If you find that difficult at first, here is a clue: The focus will be on you. Satan wants to you to misrepresent yourself to God. For example, let’s look at this statement “Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.” People love this statement simply because it speaks to the inclination of man to find himself through the validation of others (which they know is a bondage they need to cast off) and it appeals to the God-Code to find in oneself uniqueness (which they know can be found in their signature skills).

What is not perceived is that the message is about sorting out self. The Deceiver is cleverly forcing the record of man onto faith as God’s will, which is played out serendipitously in the mind. You know you’re making real progress when you can spot these things happening to you. Don’t misrepresent yourself to God. Jesus is supposed to represent you and that is the purpose of using His record rather than your own. (1 Timothy 2:5)


[1] To learn more about each of the 5 facets of the flesh in detail you can access the free online course by going to: http://www.s8wministries.org/course.php?id=14
[2] To learn more about the true record of our faith in Jesus Christ you can access the free online lesson by going to: http://www.s8wministries.org/lesson.php?id=6&lesson=the-witness-follows-the-record
[3] Learn more about how the priesthood works. It’s free: www.s8wministries.org/course.php?id=11

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