When Jesus said in this life you would have persecution and tribulation, he was not kidding! This was not wishful thinking, and he did not leave it as an option for us to consider. These two words, “persecution and tribulations”, are not full of comfort, but the opposite.
How dare Jesus speaking on such terms?
Is he not supposed to be loving, caring and positive?
Isn’t the Christian life all about conquering our fears, defeating the devils, casting out demons, setting people free, living the victorious life?
Well, yes and more, but Jesus did say that in this life we will face persecution, we will be delivered to those in authority, and didn’t he said that he came to stir trouble?
I believe that the whole Bible speaks about suffering. So, why are we so afraid of it? Isn’t Psalm 23 a word for all those who suffer, needing rest and are in need of a caring shepherd?
I am not trying to be cynical, not even pessimistic, but I live and minister with people that suffer daily.
I have never experienced persecution for what I believe, but I have suffered like many of you.
So, what is the victorious Christian life? What does it look like? Where can I find it? I am not questioning the Gospel. I am not questioning the power of the resurrection and the Gospel defeating our most powerful natural enemy, death.
Is the victorious Christian life lived as if suffering is not real? Is it applying some positive steps and we will be fine? Is this a super-spirituality that is above the supernatural?
I am writing this as someone who has seen God moving powerfully. I have witnessed first-hand how he heals. I have seen the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit upon us and speaking encouraging, uplifting words that have caused a change in people’s life. I have been at the receiving end of being prayed from a company of spirited filled people. And I have experienced the anointing of God, all for his Glory and I struggle, I get sick, I have bad habits.
I have seen an over-emphasis on the experiential to the point of denying the plight of our sufferings. Being blind to this reality is not very biblical; it is not a well-balanced diet! It seems that our theology of the supernatural has only been based on what when Jesus said on Matthew ten: to heal the sick, cast out demons because all authority and power has been given to us”! Is Jesus, right? Yes.
But believing that this verse is the solution to end sufferings and how the victorious life should be lived is not that helpful! This is because we have not considered the whole counsel of God’s thoughts and what the Bible teach us.
This season we are studying the letter of Colossians. We just began, and we are taking almost verse by verse. In this letter, we find Paul writing to a group of churches that he did not plant and only heard good and amazing things happening in these churches. People loved one another; the Gospel was bearing fruit all over, a community that understood what it is to love in the Spirit. I am sure (only speculating) that these churches experienced the healing power of God, and God’s word was not just logo but rhema as well.
In the middle of the first chapter, Paul prays an amazing prayer about God’s knowledge and will, about Holy Spirit wisdom, revelations. He prayed for this church to use the Spiritual Intelligence that we all have access to. In the middle of this prayer, he also prayed for power. He prays this:
“Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;” (Colossians 1:11 ESV)
I believe in the power of God; I believe that Jesus’ baptism of fire is his power for us. I believe that we have been given power and authority, and I believe in anointing of the Holy Spirit. Not only do I believe this to be true, but I have also experienced it. In this verse alone, we have three words about power: Being made strong with all power and through his might. Just think about how amazing this is!! All this power at our fingertips, all given to us because of the Gospel.
But here is the balance. It is not just for casting out demons and healing the sick but for all endurance, patience, with joy! For some, this could be a massive anti-climax, but it isn’t. I believe that the most significant victory is when we understand that the victorious Christian life is when we have this power to sustain us in our long-suffering and when we do not have patience. It comes with a Spirit filled joy!
Why is this so important? It is vital because we live in a place and at a time where endurance, long-suffering, and patience are much required. The supernatural strength of the power of his glorious might is what enables us to bring much comfort in our suffering, persecutions, and tribulations. Is it painful? Yes, but his power comes from the one who understands grief and from the one who overcame death. It is also essential because it helps us not get discouraged when healing doesn’t happen or when we can’t overcome our bad habits.