Even More Victory in Our Affliction


Reach for the tape

 So we plow on in this miniseries on “Victory in Our Affliction”. 

This is part 3.


Part 1 is here–https://brokenbelievers.com/2010/09/23/victory-in-the-middle-of-affliction/ 

Part 2 is here–https://brokenbelievers.com/2010/10/19/more-victory-in-our-affliction/


Can Our Pain Produce Anything Good?

Our pain tells us we are growing in Christlikeness.  When we hurt often the Lord will draw quite close, with pain focusing our eyes to see Him, others and His Kingdom.  It is far from pleasant.  Diamonds are produced in confinement and pressure.  Our faith is like a precious jewel ‘in the making’. Gold has to be refined to make it pure .  “I tested you in hard times just as silver [or, gold] is refined in a heated furnace.” Isa. 48:10.  Both diamonds and precious metals have to be worked on before they are recognized as authentic.  Often, it will be a blast furnace of affliction.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”  2 Cor. 4:17, NKJV

“These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing.” 2 Cor. 4:17, CEV

We can hold a sense that our different afflictions are actually our employees who work for us.  They ‘prompt’ us for what we need at any given moment.  For example, we need to grow in love.  What does God do?  He sends us very difficult and frustrating people for us to love.  He sends us His best for us!  Our lessons are given to guide us into a Christlike identity.

The natural impulse is to regard our affliction as eroding our faith, or degrading it.  But the opposite is true.  Affliction is like the weight bars waiting for us in the gym.  The bar and weights do not have an agenda or impulse to defeat me.  They are there to help me.  The gym is a wonderful metaphor for us to grasp spiritual things.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”  Romans 5:3, KJV

The word ‘patience’ simply means ‘endurance’.  And it seems we are starting all over in thinking that afflictions are evil, and to be avoided and rejected.  But actually the opposite is true!  We deal with the pain and frustration knowing it is working in us a ‘concentrated form of glory.’

“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  James 1:3

Essentially it is all ’cause and effect’ with our provisional acceptance to the Lord’s good intention, we let Him have His way with us.  It hurts, some may call it brutal, but it seems to be the only way for God to make us ready for eternity.

Disciples Wearing Steadfastness

“The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus results in men becoming like Him.”   

Harry Emerson Fosdick


Finally.  A voice of reason and understanding in our quest for to be Christlike.  A very simple dynamic that stresses personal intimacy.  As we walk and talk with Him we are affected, we absorb things by rubbing up to Him.  We become altered.  But it takes a “steady discipline” (that is probably the most intense words in this quote).

Steadiness is a very undervalued commodity.  This culture— my culture— has minimized this particular quality, and inflated others to take its place.  We put a new weight on certain things that eventually ‘throw off’ the equilibrium of our discipleship.  We extract ‘steadiness, or faithfulness’ from our faith and we are left with something that is only a “disciple”  in pretense or personal confusion.

Being steadfast means you are dependable and stable.  It is evidence ‘exhibit A’ that you have the Holy Spirit infecting you.

‘But as for you,(A) O man of God,(B) flee these things.(C) Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.’

1 Timothy 6:11

When we are in pursuit of something, we become incredibly focused.  Our peripheral vision is adjusted and we become focused on just reaching our goal.  Paul told Timothy to make these things his target, and then to pursue them.  But this particular verse, embedded as it is with concepts of discipleship is rarely (maybe never) given more than a fleeting glance.  Perhaps is is just too boring?

Admittedly there is a plethora of choices.  Our fellowships had just passed out spiritual menus for us to order from. (As it that were possible.)

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials(F) of various kinds, 3for you know that(G) the testing of your faith(H)produces steadfastness.4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be(I) perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

If we fully intend to become ‘biblical’ we will refocus on all that God wants to hear.  We are pretty much in peril if we buy into a gospel that is not balanced on the New Testament scales.  We will not grow at all if all we eat are “spiritual snicker bars”.

People like us are almost always trying to balance ourselves.  Bipolar depression is a vicious illness of extremes.  One day we are into this, and then we shift to another thing.  We walk a tightrope it seems, even while others are enjoying themselves in a steady, solid and comfortable walk of discipleship.  Being aware of your  balance,  propensity and momentum is a valuable asset to have.

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