Suffering in the Flesh

My note: I agree with all that Mary is saying here….and would add my 2 cents; Christians would rather do anything than admit they may have some secret, unconfessed sin, or…have opened a spiritual door for a demon to afflict them, and yes, demons can afflict mentally and physically. In many churches, it seems as if Satan, via his demons simply don’t exist….and yet, one sees so many “good” Christians afflicted with various maladies, such as diabetes, cancer, even panic attacks and depression. I’m including myself here because there are some unresolved health issues I am seeking answers to.

I don’t want to offend a brother or sister, but frankly, we have to examine the hidden parts of ourselves and seek out what we may be doing that’s causing our own problem, instead of just blaming it on the devil, or….EVEN GOD. I’ve recently heard a woman to thank God for her physical, emotional and spiritual suffering and ask Him for more of it in order to purify her. That sounds like the “Catholic version” of religion not the gospel of Christ. Folks, we need to study deeper into the word, and as we do, God will make us aware that He will put us to the test of requiring us to walk in it. We’re going to get our papers graded to see if we’ve been paying attention.

 

 

“In order to understand what “sharing in the sufferings of Christ” means, we must first understand what “the flesh” according to scripture means and what it does not. When it is said that our “flesh must die”, God is not talking about our physical flesh and blood bodies. (of course the day comes when we all will die, but that has nothing to do with conquering “the flesh”) This flesh is our unregenerated propensity to sin. This flesh is what wants its own way and not the way of God. This flesh chooses to sin. This flesh is weak and unable to overcome temptation. This is the “flesh” that must die. And we have to “kill it” – we have to choose God’s way and provision to overcome its natural tendencies. By this we mature and grow in grace. It does involve much suffering….. mental and emotional suffering, because it is hard to bring it into subjection to the Word of God. But it can be done, or else God’s Word would not say……”For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” Phil. 3:10. What Christ suffered when on earth, allows us to arm ourselves with the same mind – He was tempted in all ways but without sin. Hebrews 4:1 . We can, by the power of His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, conquer that “flesh” and not sin. If we do sin, we confess it and “repent”, strive even harder to keep that flesh desire from causing us to fall.
Also, if we are persecuted for the Gospels sake, beaten, tortured, rejected, despised, and killed as Jesus was, we are definitely sharing in His sufferings for the very cause He came to earth – to preach the Word of God unto salvation through Him and Him alone. Now, people get beaten, tortured, rejected and killed every day, but not for preaching the gospel. Do they share in His sufferings? Are they guaranteed a place in heaven because of it? Of course not.
Moving on – a false teaching that has surfaced is that if you do not suffer (physically in your body or having chaos in your life), you are not sharing in His sufferings and you will not “make it”. You will not endure to the end. You need physical bodily suffering in order to be counted among the “few who will enter in”. It is a good thing if you not only battle the “flesh” sin nature, but that also includes suffering in your flesh and blood body…that God allows you to be sick so that you will be more holy and qualified. God is not healing you because you need to do something “in your flesh” to assure eternal salvation. But that is NOT what this scripture means:
1 Pet 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
There is nowhere in scripture that says one must be sick or injured or attacked by demons causing physical suffering and chaos to qualify and enter into the fellowship of His sufferings.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
Philippians 3:10
If being sick or disabled was necessary, then the Apostles and early believers would not have been able to spread the Gospel. God would have allowed them to be sick. They would have been incapacitated, bed-ridden, useless to the Great Commission. Many times they were healed of the tortures they received. John was thrown into boiling oil, but survived! Paul was thought to be dead, but stood up perfectly healed. To include physical (medical) suffering as being necessary to “make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you” is a far cry from the actual meaning of the scripture. The bible is full of testimonies of HEALING AND DELIVERANCE.
There are those who suffer with illnesses, diseases, demonic attacks, and disabilities. We know that God does allow all things. Many times, physical problems result from reaping what someone has sown – lifestyle choices, unrepented sin, just living in a poisoned fallen world. However, being sick does not make you holier than those who are not. Here is the false doctrine being circulated! If you’re not having physical problems and are not receiving a healing, then you must be “sharing in the sufferings of Christ” and you are closer to God than those who are well. There is a guilt trip put out on those who for whatever reason, do not have horrendous physical problems! It makes one wonder if they are right with God when they are reasonably healthy and don’t have drama, chaos and a mess of physical sufferings going on in their life at the moment.
More than likely, those promoting this idea have unrepented sin, mostly pride, that hinders their healing or deliverance and they are seeking answers as to why they are not healed. They must find some reason! anything other than admitting the sin in their lives that has blocked their answer to prayers. So they come up with an unbiblical excuse. Pride will always try to make you think you’re better and holier than others.
Other times, God is sovereign and we don’t know why. But one thing is for sure – being sick does not make one any holier or free from sin. That is adding to the finished work of Christ! He paid for all through HIS sufferings, not ours, and only His Work is necessary to bring us through and endure to the end. We must kill our “flesh”, not our bodies! We see many cult members flogging themselves, cutting themselves, causing physical harm to themselves in order to get closer to their “gods” – should we have that mindset??? of course not!
If we are sick or have a disease or disability, God surely does work within us to draw us closer to Him and to give us comfort, patience and strength – but our righteousness is in Christ alone, not in the physical shape of our bodies. Some people are healed, some are not – again God is sovereign – but if someone is not healed, and begin to preach that therefore they must be more sanctified, or holy, or of the “few that will enter in” because of their physical illness, they are gravely deceived. What a can of worms that teaching opens! People may think that they shouldn’t even pray for healing or deliverance because they need to “share in the sufferings of Christ”. They may feel guilty because they are relatively healthy! It is a slippery slope for sure.
This type of false teaching must be exposed. We must learn what suffering for Christ, or sharing in Christ’s sufferings really means. We must differentiate between the “flesh” and the “physical body”. There is only one scripture that talks about turning someone over for the destruction of the flesh, and as we can see – it was an unrepentant fornicator!
‘1 Peter 4:11 Corinthians 5:1-5 King James Version (KJV)
5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
If you are physically sick, unless you have grave, unrepented sin in your life, you have not been delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh! Even in this scripture, it says that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. The false teaching says that if you are not suffering physically, “there will only be a “few” that enter in. Most refuse to suffer and they will be cast into outer darkness”. If you refuse to die to self and kill your sin nature, of course you will not make it. But if you add not receiving a healing as a qualifier, you’re mistaken.
Yes, suffer in your flesh – your natural man desires, temptations, sins – strive to “kill” all of the fleshly desires – but NEVER believe that having a physical illness will qualify you for eternity more than someone who doesn’t. This attitude is unacceptable – it is not the Mind of Christ, nor His will. Don’t let wolves cause you to doubt or feel guilty, or God forbid, wish that you were sick or injured or disabled so that you could “share in His sufferings”.
Also, be aware that your “suffering” may indeed be the chastening of the Lord for sins in your life that you refuse to acknowledge. You have not suffered unto blood striving against sin. A chastisement in your body does not bring about righteousness – (as does the price paid by our Savior in His) – it is meant to bring about conviction and repentance. Learn the difference and don’t succumb to twisted interpretations designed by Satan to derail your faith and understanding of the finished Work of Christ.
Hebrews 12:1-6
12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If you can’t figure out why you have physical problems and think in your self-righteousness that you are without a part in it somehow, seek the Lord deeper and harder – listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and don’t just try to justify yourself by making up a teaching that can damage especially those young in the Lord in the Body of Christ. You will be held accountable for every word.
God would never deny healing because illness is necessary to secure and endure. It is NOT. Jesus paid that price by His gruesome death and resurrection. To think otherwise is just plain pride. Remember – it’s not about you and if the only way you can justify your condition is to make something up and twist scriptures to confirm it, beware.

 

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Healing is Still For Today

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Our own faith in Jesus power to heal has everything to do with receiving healing! Remember in the Book of Mark, when Jesus would heal someone, He invariably would say something like, “Your faith has made you whole”. etc. Healing is a two way street; The Lord’s power to heal and our faith connecting together with that Power.  Let’s not forget that.
Even Jesus couldn’t heal in his own country due to their unbelief. This is why many folks today don’t receive healing…doubt and unbelief on their part. God will not honor unbelief. He expects his people to have FAITH in Him. His own people were destroyed in the wilderness because of unbelief and lack of faith and trust in the Lord.
Somewhere along the line, the Church has lost much of the faith the early Christians had for healing, and even in the past several decades, the gifts of healing have been sadly neglected as the church slides deeper into apostasy.
The Lord Jesus ministry in healing was and is, His Agape Love put into action.  Not just that He loves us, but wants to demonstrate that Love in various ways, including the healing of our bodies, souls and spirits.

It’s true there may be much we don’t understand about healing, but we can, by building our faith, and studying the Word of God about healing, learn more and put it into practice. What I do know is that my God is a healer, and I believe just what the bible says about it. “By His Stripes, we were healed.” Isa 53:5.
But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”
Christians need to stop messing around and playing church and build up their faith in God, so they can have faith for healing as well as moving out in the gifts of the spirit in love, one to another, to the edification and building up of the Body of Christ in maturity.
The Lord Jesus doesn’t need any more intellectual Christians holding to an intellectual form of godliness but denying the power of godliness. For, in the realm of the Spirit, as opposed to intellectualism, there is power; the awesome power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord gave us these gifts of the spirit to use, and exercise for the benefit of others, following the Lord Jesus example, who went about doing good and healing. Therefore, should we not follow the same example?
Jesus, unlike the church that has counterfeited His Name and purpose, hasn’t changed. For what good are the awesome gifts of the Spirit we have been given graciously by the Lord, if we don’t use them for the benefit of others? Or. if they lay dormant and unused?  Healing is still for today, as opposed to what the false teachers would have folks to believe. The Christian life is to be a supernatural walk, just as Christ Jesus intended, or it can scarcely be called “Christian” at all. 
Act 10:37-38

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

These words come from the mouth of Peter as he explains the gospel to Cornelius. For three and a half years, Peter was a firsthand witness of the ministry of Jesus and this is the overwhelming impression that the ministry of Jesus left on him. When Peter sums up the ministry of Jesus, he speaks of Jesus healing the sick through the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. In his famous sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. (Acts 2:22).

Healing the sick was the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry. Wherever he went, people brought the sick to him, and he healed them. The Gospels show us that He did this throughout his earthly ministry:

Matthew 4:23-25

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Matt. 8:16-17

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

Matt. 9:35

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

Mark 1:33-34

The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons,

Mark 6:56

And wherever he went–into villages, towns or countryside–they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

Luke 5:15

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.

Luke 9:11

but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Even after Jesus clears the temple, he heals the sick:

Matt. 21:12-14

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

After John the Baptist was put in prison, he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to find out whether Jesus was really the Messiah. The reason John did this was that Jesus’ ministry differed so much from his own. Even though the message that Jesus started to preach , “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” (Matt 3:2 and 4:17) was the same as that of John the Baptist, what Jesus DID was different from John. Jesus sums up his own ministry in his answer to John

Matt 11:4-5

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.

Jesus himself said that the miracles were proof that He was from the Father: “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:11)

A good site indeed for studying the healing ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said to all who believe, “Come, follow Me”.