I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! Revelation 2:9a NLT
Discouragement is one of the enemy’s choice weapons, especially against the faithful and obedient. He seeks to depress, discourage and immobilize the church by imparting his own defeat, depression, and discouragement. But we are not defeated. We are more than conquerors. Jesus never promised that life in the Kingdom would be free from obstacles, trials, and suffering, but He did instruct us not to fear or lose heart because we know that He was and is victorious over all things: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NLT). Jesus Christ has overcome! He knows that we will have many trials. He knows about our suffering and our seeming poverty of ability and strength, and it is valuable to Him, but truly we are rich for “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, informing them of his struggle with circumstances, with discouragement, and even with despair: “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die.” The enemy was attacking on every side because Paul was a powerful force spreading the Good News to every part of the known world. He was honest about his struggle. This was not a light attack, but he held on to the goodness of God and the victory we’ve had, we have, and we will have in Christ: “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us” (1 Corinthians 1:8-10 NLT). God is a rescuer. He is a dead raiser. There is no victory for the enemy because even death is overcome. Christ has rescued us from sin, breathed life into our spirit, and raised us from spiritual death. He has rescued us from mortal danger and He will rescue us again. He is faithful and true. He is reliable, and He alone is to be relied on. In Him we have every victory.
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10 NKJV). Suffering may last for a while. Threats may last for a time. Circumstances may weigh heavy for a season and mourning may last for the night, but joy, victory, and rescue are coming! In that victory we are perfected, established, strengthened, and settled. We are secured on our solid foundation. We are pulled from shifting sand and miry clay and set upon a solid rock that endures every storm and will never be shaken. This sweet assurance of victory and wonderful hope in Christ will not and does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). We can trust His power and victory.
The same Paul who endured great suffering and attack overflowed with thanks to God because He saw the tremendous and continual victory we walk in. He delighted in a spiritual walk beyond the battle, already present in the celebration of Christ’s destruction of all of Satan’s power: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV). We live in the sweet smell of knowing a victorious God who rescues us without fail. Our identity as children of God is also as victors. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). The victory was won by Christ regardless of what we believe, but we experience and enforce that victory in this world by our faith: our simple knowledge and assurance of this victory now and forever.
Though the enemy may try to attack with lies, we have already won; he’s on the defense and the gates of hell will not prevail against the church (Matt 16:18). Gates don’t attack anyone. We attack the gates and they won’t hold up. They won’t prevail, and our victory in this life and the next will be an eternal glory to our Great and Powerful God who is searching the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of the faithful (2 Chron. 16:9).
Read the rest of the September 2012 Newsletter.
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