ENDURING THROUGH SUFFERING

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13

You cannot view this verse in isolation you need to consider the previous verse first.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.Philippians 4: 11

Philippians 4:13 is not about how one can literally do anything we put our minds to simply because we are in Christ. Paul has a specific context in mind here—and it is not about attaining your personal goals and aspirations, developing a healthy conception of self-worth, nor is it designed to be a coping mechanism to deal with the grit and grime of life. Truthfully, the passage isn’t even about finding the secret of contentment in all things, despite insistence from many that this is the focal point of this passage. This interpretation does have more validity to it due to the following passage.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.Philippians 4:11-12

Paul undoubtedly affirms learning contentment in all circumstances. However, the overarching point of Paul to the Philippians in this passage is not contentment, but one of enduring through suffering, particularly, suffering brought on through no fault of our own.

Job a model of faithfulness in suffering

The Letter to the Philippians is one of Paul’s epistles written from prison, which means that as he pens this letter, he is chained to a Roman guard waiting for his trial before Caesar. In the midst of Paul’s expression of gratitude for their financial support, he takes the opportunity to encourage his people that Christ Himself is the source of all comfort, hope, and faith. The simple reason why Paul encourages them in this manner is they have been appointed, not only to eternal life but to suffer for the sake of Christ, which in particular for them means they will experience the same things Paul has (Philippians 1:29-30). Paul is not only referring to being jailed for Christ’s sake, but to enduring physical persecution (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).

It is in light of this that Paul then ministers to those in Philippi by highlighting the hope of the gospel, the resurrection, and the object of their faith: Jesus Christ. He is all-sufficient and provides for our every need by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches us how to embrace suffering for the glory of Christ because it is the means by which we enter His Kingdom.

Adapted from articles by Grayson Gilbert on Suffering. Click on embrace suffering and you will connect to another great article by Grayson Gilbert.

DEMONIC OPPRESSION IS REAL

Demonic oppression is a spiritual attack from a demonic spirit that seeks to influence a person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. Since a demon cannot possess a Christian to control them, then oppression is the next best option. Because of the way we are created as humans, these attacks will often begin in our minds because this is the central hub that dictates what we think about, how we feel, and ultimately what we do. The goal of demonic oppression is to keep a person trapped and bound. The desire is to paralyze the Christian believer so they become ineffective.

From Job, we know that God allows demonic spirits to attack the body so the following story is possible.

Actress Joey King, who played a little girl afflicted by the supernatural in the demonic-themed horror film, “The Conjuring,” recently shared strange details from her time making the movie that still makes her “shudder.”

King, 22, said earlier this month in an appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show” that she developed a strange blood disorder while playing Christine, one of the Perron children in “The Conjuring.”

“It was pretty intense. Some weird stuff happened on the set, along with the movie being scary,” she told fellow actress Drew Barrymore. “It’s true, I developed this bizarre, rare, out-of-nowhere blood disorder, and basically, my body, like all the red platelets from my body were like drained out.

“In the [movie], when the mother gets possessed, she gets all these bruises on her,” King said. “And so during the filming of those particular scenes, I started having a lot of bruises show up on my body.”

The bruises in strange places like her chest and stomach were so pervasive that makeup artists thought she stole their supplies to create fake bruising. They only realized this wasn’t the case when they tried to remove the bruising to no avail.

“It was so dramatic,” she said. “So I had to, every day before work and after work, go to the hospital, get my blood taken.”

But something truly bizarre happened once King finished filming “The Conjuring.” “Then, all of a sudden, I got home, and I’ve never had a problem with my blood since,” she said, sparking a shocked reaction from Barrymore. “Every time I think about it, I just shudder a little bit.”

It’s a truly bizarre story, but regardless of the veracity of the claims, scripture does tell us that evil is very real. Satan cannot possess Christians but he can oppress them. Scripture reveals that in the end times this will escalate.

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:9-10

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.James 4:7-8

RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH ALONE

Anything that is not birthed out of faith is fatally flawed by sin.

“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

According to Isaiah without faith even our righteous deeds are “like a polluted garment”.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” Isaiah 64:6

The reality is that anyone outside the saving faith of Christ are dead people, spiritually dead and therefore only capable of doing wretched, sinful things. From birth this is the reality for us all. We need to be clothed in His righteousness and this can only be done when we repent and put our faith in Jesus, the only one who can make us righteous, and that is by being clothed in His righteousness.

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

The book of Job teaches us much about faith. Believing that God is good despite the apparent evidence to the contrary, Job rested in faith alone. In the depths of agony he could still proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 9:25). In the end, God silenced all discussion with the truth that He alone is wise (chs. 38–41). Yet, He vindicated Job’s trust in Him (ch. 42), proving that genuine faith cannot be destroyed.

The gospel is the power of God for salvation for in it the righteousness of God is revealed but it is by faith that we live the Christian life.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith (or beginning and ending in faith), as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17