Friday, December 10, 2010

LETTER TO A BROTHER BEING SIFTED LIKE WHEAT

My brother........


I appreciate your brothership.  Brothers in the same ship!
  
Anyway, the one thing God is making plain to me again is that the Way of Christ is the Way of the Cross.  It is not an aberration or abnormality to be sifted, to be under trial.  It is His Way, and ours.  Since I've been taught from infancy the religious Christianity that says trials and tribulations are the exception, so I've always looked to avoid them, and have God put me on a solid, "normal" path.  It's always been my aim to "get through" them and out the other side so that I can enjoy life once again.  


Now I'm learning Christ's Way.  He keeps showing me that religious Christianity, with its watered-down version of the gospel, has led us astray, and that His Way is the Way of constant difficulties, opposition, obstacles, confrontation, suffering and the fruit of the Spirit that comes through submitting to them.  


These false teachings we've absorbed have ruined our ability to "see" God's work in us, and to have love and joy through the real process of becoming holy.  I pray that daily the "eyes of our understanding" would be opened so that we would see the incomparable riches of Christ come in the dark, in the cold, in the losses, in the pain, not in the times of our self-fulfillment and gain.  


That is what is giving me joy this morning.  I'm so glad He considers me worthy of this cross, the same Cross He carried, and helps us carry now.  Like I wrote the other day on revival.com, we all want to stop and spend our time in Gethsemane, in the pleasant garden, crying out for deliverance from the intense trial we see ahead, and yet Christ calls us to move on, to Golgotha, the place of death.  

It's interesting to look at Peter.  Peter was tempted to deny Christ, and to abandon his faith.  He did both.  He fell, and He was sifted.  Yet I believe Christ's purpose in Peter was to show this future apostle that he could do nothing without Christ's Spirit in him, and that he would always fall as long as he was just a religious follower of Jesus.  Once Peter knew the risen Christ, and was taught the Way of the Cross, he became a steady, strong believer who understood that it was all about not only Gethsemane, but about Golgotha, and resurrection.  So Peter, later on, was under constant persecution and trial and would not be shaken, because He knew the Way, and knew it was normal.  He was no longer trying to stop the crucifixion process but participating in it.

Well, bro, a long response.  But it is what Christ is giving me now.  I am praying for you.  

So many of our brothers and sisters mean well, but there is so much fluff out there.  It is amazing the stuff that is being poured out on blogs and spiritual websites.  So much of it is "look up, your trial is almost over" stuff.  

No, if we wish to know Christ, our calling is to die daily, which never becomes any easier.  Right?  

Well, it actually does, because "dead men feel no pain", and as we become New Men in Christ, we lose the sensitivity to every trial and tribulation, and become battle-hardened men of God.  We turn into men like our firstborn brother, Christ, and like so many who've followed Him wholly--the Pauls and the Peters and the Johns and the Stephens.

Let's pray that God continues to count us worthy of these wonderful testings and trials.  Remember what James says, "Count it all joy when you suffer various trials..."  How can we count it joy if we consider it punishment from God, or some aberration and short-lived anomoly to our "normal" Christian lives?  

Your brother,
A. Brother

3 comments:

  1. Good article, however I don't dig the 'dead men feel no pain'. Yes our flesh is dead but our spirit is alive, even Jesus wept, he who had no sin. When we are betrayed or hurt or have loss it would be very ab-normal to act like it did not matter or we felt nothing.

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  2. Absolutely right, Anonymous. A use of hyperbole there to make a point. Let's make it clear that even Jesus, when He was betrayed and left alone by everyone, felt that pain. He knows our pain of rejection and abandonment, and that's because He went through it, right? Not meaning to deny that we feel pain, but it is absolutely true that as we die to our own interests, our own preferences, our own "must-haves", and live more and more in Christ Jesus, and for His interests, we require less and less for ourselves, and so are able to be content in loss or gain. We grow, like Paul did, in the ability to be content no matter our situation, because we are in Christ, and have His joy, even when others cause us pain.

    Thanks for commenting!
    A. Brother

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  3. Excellent....thank you for posting for it is of great exhortation. We enter the kingdom of heaven through much....? Exactly. I must decrease so that He may increase, and better yet, He does increase contrary to my compilation, etc. May we be as Christ through the chastening as it was He who learned obedience through His suffering. Thanks again. His continued grace.

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