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   Why Christians Suffer

Open Your Study Bible Open Notepad

Suffering for God and Christian Response to Suffering

Keep Faith Consistent

Lesson 7 of 7

For faith to stay consistent to Jesus Christ and for you to keep running in the way of righteousness, we have had to shatter some spiritual myths. This course “Why Christians Suffer” is a study in Christian living and how faith works. I want to now go deeper into the counterfeit cycles of growth and spend more time explaining them to you.
All three spiritual curves in the chart below look the same in that each wave has a crest followed by a trough. We are looking at the same curve, but different kingdoms, different tools, and different experiences. Faith follows the rhythm of the kingdom it is tethered to.
Do you notice how true faith stays consistent (solid red line) to Jesus Christ when it follows the rhythm of the Spirit? Your growth cycle involves suffering as you experience the contradiction to your pleasures as God challenges your comfort zones, but your faith stays consistent to Christ, consistent to His tools, consistent in reflection, consistent in your priesthood.
You don’t experience the roller coaster effect (indicated by the broken red line present in the rhythm of nature and event theology). You don’t experience the “ups” and “downs” of faith. You know what to expect and are not left wondering what is happening to you. You’re not asking,” What did I do wrong? You’re not seeking the will of God, because you’re staying in the will of God. The will of God is your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). That means using the tools God sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. That’s God’s will. It’s God’s will for you to continue to pray in tongues, continue to offer spiritual sacrifices of prophecy.
The Christian life is lived in rhythm with the Spirit. What rhythm are you following?
God knows that the more you give (offering spiritual sacrifices of prophecy) the more you will receive from Him an increase of grace, which keeps the momentum of your faith going. That’s all you need to do, is keep your faith going. Keep building! Grow by that which the Lord reciprocates to you and He will cause the increase in your understanding and fruit!
But when Christians try to express faith in God by the rhythm of nature or by the rhythm of events both result in taking the focus away from Christ. False faith follows the circumstance or event, rather than to Jesus Christ. The result of false faith is that “up and down” experience, which has confused and frustrated so many Christians.
Why the Natural Man Loves the Valley to Mountain Experiences
We need to gain a deeper understanding of false faith to know why it is harmful to you and why God posted a No Trespassing sign in that territory. God wants to protect you by putting up signs that you are about to enter into a harmful place. He sets teaching as signs to warn you. Pretty soon you’ll see Don’t Enter. . .Stay Out. . .Hazardous to Your Health. . .STOP signs in the areas where the rhythm of nature and Event Theology is taught.  
let’s first take a look at Rhythm of Nature, which is the valley to mountain top experiences. Even though most are quite familiar with this, I’d like to start by again explaining the mountain top. These are the “peak experiences.” Poor Christian education resulted in believers setting their expectations on “mountain top” experiences by extracting from the Bible things they interpret as God’s promises, from the prayer of Jabez, to storehouse blessings, to Joseph’s blessing, to Abraham’s blessing, to the blessings of the Promised Land.
Christians have been led to believe that God wants to bring them to a place of abundance, fulness, and fatness. Christian authors center on proving ways to receive God's blessing and how to overcome Satan, who is seen as stealing blessing and/or hindering faith from achieving mountaintop experiences. Christians have been led to believe that faith in God is all about learning how to stay in the stream of increase and flow of God’s material blessings or happiness.
The natural man is tied to these mountain experiences. Remember when we said it was important for you to learn the 5 faces of the flesh? The reason for that is to become aware of the appetite of the natural man and how Satan drives that appetite. What used to look like God’s hand of blessing or God’s will is seen for what it is, the appetite of the flesh.
The natural man merely draws upon the record of his own soul to project with the imagination an experience. The God-Code dictates an appetite to the soul for perfection and increase. The signature of the soul dictates an appetite to the soul for its completion by one’s own talents and giftings. And the moral code dictates a need to the soul for settling and maintaining a sound conviction that is thought will appease God. The soul then labors to fill these appetites.
Everyone wants to stay on top of the mountain and revel in life’s abundance and the flow of gifts, and when everything seems to be in agreement with the aspiration, they are said to have overcome obstacles and achieved, and thus gained a “God perspective”.
What Do You Do When Faced With Reversals?
But when Christians face reversals to visions of blessing, when things and people stand in the way of the full expression of the God-Code within them, when the unfolding of one’s own signature is with conflict, then loss is endured and the conscience cries foul because the things they have joined their faith to (the flesh) are less than Christ. These reversals are said to be “valley experiences”.
In the absence of true Apostolic Governance of the church, Christians have learned to deal with their “valley” experiences by developing a psychology around their setbacks, and reading into them much spiritual significance, which temporarily elevates the setback to a special spiritual level. They like to use their “valley” experiences to try to sort out their conflicts, reevaluate their lives, and take stock of their motives and goals, all of which are seen as opportunities to gain “nuggets of insight” they hope will restructure their thinking and reveal some spiritual significance about their suffering.
When doing this they next begin asking themselves deep soul-searching questions, such as, “What is hindering my blessing? What is God trying to teach me here? What can I learn from this experience?” These grilling questions dig for a deeper assessment of self, rather than reflect, rehearse, and reciprocate Christ. Most are no doubt familiar with these kinds of questions:
  1. Is there unconfessed sin in my life?
  2. Is there a sin of ignorance in my life?
  3. Is there a generational curse God is expecting me to remove before He can bless me?
  4. Is God waiting for me to move out in faith?
  5. Is God waiting for me to position myself for His blessing?
  6. Do I have unforgiveness in my heart?
  7. Is there unconfessed sin in my life? (Oh, I said that already!)
  8. Have I cried out to God with travail?
  9. Are my prayers wholehearted or halfhearted?
  10. Is God teaching me a lesson:
    1. It is better to give than to receive
    2. The proud in heart is brought to ruin
    3. I can save the world by first saving my neighbor. God wants me to do the little things before He will trust me with the big things.
    4. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. Is God giving me a second chance?
    5. A man reaps what he sows. Am I reaping what I sowed?
    6. Am I faithful in my work? Is God giving me a lesson in faithfulness?
    7. Do I find joy in the little things of life? Is God teaching me to appreciate what I have?
When in the valley, believers want to learn from life’s hard knocks. This is a mindset that became popular because the philosophy attaches value to suffering, which then assists people to rise above their problems and flourish once again. This is not regeneration. This is not Christ being brought forth. This is the tradition of the fallen man. Let’s go over some of these new life experiences. Keep in mind the counterfeit Jesus in the element regeneration (Lesson #4 Train to Win the Victory in Christ) as you read each item:
  1. I can change my attitude and view all I do as something worthy that I am doing for God. So then instead of feeling that life is worthless, I can recoup my losses. 
  2. My pain reminds me how fragile life is and how much I appreciate the moments God has given me and how I should make the most of my life by giving back to Him my all.
  3. My disappointments teach me how God must at times be disappointed with me. How I yearn to always please Him. What can I do better, or what should I avoid in order to please God?
This philosophy is mental flagellations only creates more aspirations, removing value from Christ and placing it instead on what the carnal mind perceives through the imagination of the flesh.
Poor Christian education is responsible for this confusion. Believers are taught how to pair the dynamics of suffering with self-sacrifice and to set these before God for His approval. But God has already approved of Jesus Christ for our faith as He said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Therefore Jesus is the record and blueprint of our faith. God is not testing the moral code, nor is He teaching us lessons. It is important to take note that the counterfeit Jesus leads you to attempts to sort out God’s judgments, but:
  1. Does not bring the soul into rest
  2. Does not settle the conscience in righteousness, but causes it to seek to overcome the frustration of disappointments by learning from them.
  3. Is not focused on Jesus Christ. The soul is simply searching to find closure with its own record: mentally, emotionally and economically.
Assigning spiritual significance to one’s suffering is not the pattern of Jesus Christ; it is merely the soul’s innate response to the God-Code as suffering and conflict work to promote the desire for re-birth, for new beginnings, for new starts, for rebuilding, regaining, and restoring.
Here again, we can clearly see the yoke of the Deceiver and how he enslaves Christians to their imagination and the fear of loss, where they will continue to experience the cycles of sin unto death. So then, even though the many nuggets of earthy wisdom seem to hold spiritual significance and speak to the desire of the soul for righteousness, the spirit of Antichrist simply leads a person back to where they started, lacking the growth and increase, which only comes by the Spirit. 
Our experience of rebirth, the healing of the soul, and regeneration, is through God’s Intelligent Design for Christ-Centered Spiritual Transformation. When we follow God’s divine design and due process for the soul by joining our faith to God through the things He has sanctified by the blood of Jesus, we will continue to experience Christ who mercifully forms His nature within us. You can expect to suffer the loss of you aspirations and principles through each cycle of growth.
Why the Natural Man Loves Event Theology
Now let’s turn our attention to the rhythm of events, which Apostle Eric vonAnderseck coined “Event Theology”. We’re now looking at the third wave in our chart. Pharaoh challenged Moses, Goliath challenged David, and the Philistines challenged Samson. Moses prevailed over Pharaoh, David slew Goliath, and Samson brought down the house of Dagon upon the lords of the Philistines. In this spiritual curve, Moses, David, and Samson are viewed as the crest of each wave and Pharaoh, Goliath, and the Philistines are viewed as the trough.
Believers search for a pattern to follow so that when they face difficult circumstances they know what to do. Lacking the knowledge and pattern of Christ, faith is errantly seen in light of the rhythm of life where people, events, and circumstances represent either a promise or a threat. The spiritual curve of the rhythm of events promises role models for victory and works with the mountain and valley experiences of the rhythm of nature because people want to be on top; they want to be the head, not the tail.
The rhythm of events follows Event Theology, which is faith gone astray by utilizing Bible characters to extrapolate a path of good decision-making, right choices, and moral conduct. Event Theology examines each Bible character and dissects each aspect of the events they endured to determine how the blessings were obtained, how challenges were met and overcome, and ultimately, how to view oneself in the light of these events.
Mental snap shots are taken of each facet of the hero’s life, mountain top, and valley experiences, and used as “instructional photographs” to depict similarities between the challenges the Christian currently faces and those the hero faced. As the hero’s “mountain top” and “valley” experiences are viewed and filed by the imagination, and the similarities are weighed in light of outcome, faith is then broken down into easy steps for the imagination to follow to prevail over the adversity by projection and imitation, to make sense of the suffering, and to use it (suffering) as a form of therapy for the conscience, allowing a person to live vicariously through the Bible character.
Event Theology uses Bible characters and biblical events to set a false pattern for faith, bending faith to a psychology, rather than truth in Christ. But as we see in the diagram, faith is unstable, following the rhythm of events rather than the rhythm of the Spirit.
An example of this is seen in John chapter 4 where the Samaritan woman used Event Theology to try to convince Jesus of her true religion based on the events that unfolded in Jacob’s life. But, Jesus redirected her faith from the tradition of man to Himself and the covenant. Let’s look at a few more examples:
  •  Born into affliction
  •  Drawn from the river
  • Hidden in Pharaoh’s house
  •  Called of God to lead the children of Israel
  • Tested in the desert
  • Faced Pharaoh in the flesh and was defeated
  •  Faced Pharaoh in the power of God and prevailed
  • Born a shepherd
  •  Called of God to be king of Israel
  •  Stepped out to slay Goliath/valiant in battle
  •  Followed the stepping stones of confidence in God: slew a lion and a bear
  •  Committed adultery with Bathsheba
  • Passed the baton to his son Solomon
  • Was a man after God’s own heart because of his faith and confidence in God
  •  Born into affliction
  • Called of God as judge over His people
  •  Experienced supernatural strength / Power of God was in his hair
  •  Though outnumbered, yet he prevailed over his enemies
  • Rough in nature; wild ways
  •  Overcome by a woman (Delilah)
  • Prevailed over his enemies when his hair regrew
The Dangers of Event Theology
Sermons are mostly based upon Event Theology, where Christians are asked to reach for promises and grapple with their frailty by rehearsing the lives of such Bible characters as Moses, David, and Samson. But by doing this, Christians begin to see similarities between the lives of these righteous men and their own lives. Christian education was poorly designed in that it promoted an imitation of what believers saw, set expectation by circumstances, and built faith upon the event, rather than on Christ. Thus, the event became the record for the witness and justification for faith rather than Jesus Christ.
Typically this is how the scenario unfolds: Were you, as Moses, born into affliction and by some set of circumstances were hidden for a while, until God proved your faith in the furnace of affliction and determined it was time to “bring you out”? Have you tried it “man’s way” and failed, and now feel as though God is ready to trust you with His power? Are you facing the “Red Sea” with Pharaoh’s army at your back?
At some point in the sermon you begin to sympathize with the message and feel as if God is speaking directly to you. Who hasn’t faced adversity? Who hasn’t felt these things? Can you see how easily the circumstances of Moses’ life could be transposed onto your life? Can you also see how God’s will for you could just as easily be falsely extrapolated from the circumstances Moses faced? Being asked to “see yourself” in that and to see “God’s hand” as proving, blessing, pulling down, and lifting up, we can see how Moses becomes a role model for those who wish to rise above their circumstances.
When ministers use King David as a role model, they ask you to examine your life and the circumstances you face in light of what he faced. Do you have a Goliath in your life? Is God asking you to “step out” and defy the enemy as David stepped out against Goliath?
Has God led you through the small stepping-stones of life, so to speak, where you saw “His hand” in the little things, in order to prepare you for this one big challenge you are facing now? Do you want to be a man/woman after God’s own heart? Do you find yourself in compromising positions as David and mirror his prayers and repentance?
Are you putting spiritual significance upon gifts that are “passed” to you as David passed the baton to his son Solomon? You are asked to see God shaping your character by these things so that you can become more Christ-like. Even though God does set the scenarios of our testing for our reward, yet He does not use events to shape our character, He uses Christ to form His virtues within. He measures your faith to Jesus Christ who is the standard of your righteousness, and as you daily use Christ’s covenant tools, the Spirit of God confirms Him as God heals your soul and transfers His virtue within your soul. That is a whole different system.
When ministers use Samson as a role model, they ask you to examine your life and the circumstances you face in the light of what he faced. Is God asking you to control your appetites? Is God promising strength if you keep His commandments? Are your methods a little on the wild side, but you feel as if this “wildness” is a unique gift from God that He is going to use, and all you have to do is learn how to direct it? Again, we can see how easy it is to compare the challenges you face to the challenges these biblical characters faced. This has made sense to the general Christian community because it speaks so clearly to the fallen nature, allowing believers to read some spiritual significance into their lives and their circumstances, which they see as holding a promise for them.  
When faith follows Event Theology Christians are taught that they need to gain God’s ear and that God is waiting for them to challenge Him with a scenario so He can reward them. This exercise of challenging God is misrepresented as “faith.” It is Satan who reverses faith to ask, “What will you give up for God so that God can bless you?” There are many ways in which this “positioning” takes place.
Let’s look at a few examples of this: Like God’s challenge to Abraham to sacrifice his son, you are also asked to “offer your Isaac upon the altar” by giving up something that you highly value, like your money or your time. Or there’s “The Jericho March,” where just as God commanded Joshua to lead the children of Israel in a victory march around the city of Jericho, you are also asked to “make your march” so that the walls you face will come tumbling down. Or, if you cannot “march” you are asked to SHOUT the walls (enemy) down.
Or have you been given permission to “tell it like it is”, and justify your aggressive behavior as “divine,” even as John the Baptist spoke to the “generation of vipers”? What about Elijah passing his mantle to Elisha; have you been asked to imagine a mantle of God’s anointing being passed to you to empower you to do what you could not do before? And every time the circumstances turned to your favor, it became a “fable”, which represented how you thought faith was to work and how you thought God “operates.”
These are just a few examples to help you understand how dangerous Event Theology is and how it has an effect upon Christian perception that does not reflect Christ. There is a well-trodden path that Event Theology follows:
  •   How biblical events are used to justify an aggressive nature as “divine.”
  •    How one places all opposition under the umbrella of the devil/Antichrist spirit
  •  How easily seducing spirits work with it to justify the conscience
  • How Event Theology works with one’s imagination and self-image
  •   How Event Theology shields itself to give a feeling of “true religion.”
  •  How Event Theology brings a testimony to one’s pride and produces fables
  •  And how it is condemned of the Lord who said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [you were working with another record and another spirit]. I never knew you” (Mt.7:22,23).
When we reverse faith like this, we tempt God, setting the terms for our challenge, by trying to initiate our own regeneration and fruit bearing. When faith follows Event Theology Christians always try to discern the voice of the Lord. You are asked, “What is the Lord telling you?”
There are many voices at play here: The voice of the conscience, the voice of the signature, the voice of reason, the voice of the God-Code, the voice of the moral code/center, which seducing spirits work with to confuse the mind and bear witness to the record of the flesh. These voices demand will worship, false humility, and false piety. Remember that when confidence is rooted in the record of the flesh in place of the record of Jesus Christ then the voice is not God.
God is giving eyesight back to the church. You will never have difficulty in discerning the voice of God’s grace for it works in rhythm with the Spirit, the terms of the covenant, and the priesthood of Jesus Christ to reciprocate His knowledge. God’s grace does not work with lasciviousness; it is not in the shout of the moral code; nor does it work aggressively to arrest the will. The voice of God’s grace comes as the Holy Spirit confirms His witness upon the record of Jesus Christ. You will grow in your experience with the voice of God’s grace as you use the tools of His covenant.
What Would Jesus Do?
Finally, “What Would Jesus Do” is another good example of trying to find a role model to imitate. Under the WWJD philosophy, Christians follow the precept Jesus rather than the covenant Jesus. You are asked to try to live out your life by focusing your attention on applying Jesus’ actions, words, motives, and feelings to yourself. You are coached to make life choices as you think He would do, to speak as He would speak, and to approach each circumstance in the same way as Jesus would. That approach, however, is not what God had in mind.
In conclusion, Event Theology is an attempt to duplicate desirable behavior and obtain desirable blessings by imitating biblical characters and trying to live up to that imagination. But as you have found out by personal experience, it is not possible for you to adjust your behavior to a mind-set. The conscience is simply being molded to a perspective, rather than to Christ. When biblical characters are set up as role models, the precept of scripture is used to justify mixing the God-Code with one’s moral code/center, signature, aspiration, principle, and imagination to imitate faith. All these things are dunked together into a pot and stewed with the hopes that by some miracle something good will come of it.
You can’t live the Christian life through the perspective of the flesh, from the perspective of the God-Code, or from the perspective of the moral code because God is not in these things. What is happening is that you are asked to transfer the experiences of holy men and women to your own personal desires. This is emotional transference, not faith; these are the things that excite the flesh and exploit faith by removing our confidence from God. Death resides in the flesh, but life is by the Spirit. God does not view us in the light of these biblical characters. Rather, God views Christ in our faith when we exercise our faith with the tools of Christ’s covenant.
God does not view us by the eye of the flesh, but through the eye of Jesus Christ. God set a pattern for our faith by the Spirit. God’s power for spiritual transformation through Jesus Christ follows a whole different track. When we look at what happened to Jesus in the wilderness and how he responded to Satan’s temptations, we are not merely looking at an “event”, we are looking at the pattern of our faith, which God established in Jesus Christ.

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