The Source Of Our Fiery Ordeals
Be it prosperity or adversity, the advancing disciples must discern the source and the motivation behind each one. When God sends prosperity or adversity (Job 2: 10), it is for His glory and our advancement in the spiritual life. When the devil sends prosperity or adversity, it is for our destruction (1Pet. 5: 8) and/or the diminishing of the quality of one's post salvation spiritual life.
The divine standard for measuring the quality of one's post salvation spiritual life is fruit (e.g. saved/edified souls) produced (Matt. 7: 15 - 20); be it in your own spiritual life, or in the spiritual lives of others.
The more a born again advances in the post salvation spiritual life, the larger and more desired of a target (Eph. 6: 16) he/she becomes in the realm of spiritual combat. In many cases, all that an advancing disciples has to do to get relief from satanically induced adversity is to lay the cross down (Luke 9: 23) and desert the battlefield.
The problem with that "solution" is that the deserter may very well be headed for disaster arranged by God (See Book of Jonah).
As long as the born again believer is here on Earth, there will always be the next level of spiritual maturity before us. The closer one comes to reaching the next objective that God has in mind, the more frequent and intense the attacks or distractions the advancing disciples will experience.
Each and every day of one's post salvation spiritual life serves a divine purpose. Some are days are for rest. Some are days for preparing for future battles. Some are days are for combat. Most days are a combination of all the above. No days are for nothing.
Keep in mind that distractions can come in the form of prosperity, as well as adversity. The devil, being a master in the art of spiritual combat, knows which missiles (prosperity vs. adversity) to launch at what time that will most likely achieve his objectives in any given situation.
When overt prosperity appears on the horizon, most folks will not tend to look too closely into the mouth of a gift horse. After all, no need to spoil a good thing with details that might induce a twinge of conscience and a change of plans. Is there?
But when it comes to adversity, the last one we want to blame is the one we face in the mirror. This is unfortunate, as much of the adversity we face in life IS the result of decisions We make.
An honest 2Cor. 13: 5 self-examination will determine if the primary source of the approaching adversity or distraction is of our own making.
If our 1Cor. 13: 5 self examination uncovers sin that has not been confessed (1John 1: 9) and/or forsaken (John 8: 11), we need to do so. If the source of the fiery ordeal is on our hands, then so is the solution.
If such as examination clears ourselves of culpability, we can then confidently move on to identifying who the source of the fiery ordeal is, and the reason(s) for it.
Keep in mind that the devil and the forces of evil can be behind prosperity, if prosperity can be used as a distraction to take an advancing disciples out of either the master plan (Matt. 28: 19, 20) or the individual plan (1Cor. 12) that God has in mind.
The question to be asked is, "Will embracing this prosperity or enduring this adversity increase or decrease the productivity of my post salvation spiritual life?". The answer to this question is a good indicator of who the source is and what objective the source has in mind. No adversity is pleasant, but God-sent adversity is for our advancement. Satan-sent adversity is for extraction.
Q. How long will either the posterity or the fiery ordeals adversity last?
A. As long as it works and/or as long as it takes to accomplish their objectives.
Is God leading me into a new phase in His plan, or is the devil trying to lure me away? Am I seeking God's will and plans for me, or am I seeking God's approval and support for my own?
When the objectives are detected, the source becomes more easily identified.
During the forty years in The Wilderness, God's people were told WHEN and WHERE to make their next move and how long to stay there via the cloud and the pillar of light (Exodus 13: 21, 22). Each and every move was in line with the TIMING and the plan of God. Not away early or a day late
Here in the Church Age, born again believers have the indwelling Spirit of God (1Cor. 2: 16) and the Bible (2Tim. 3: 16, 17) to guide us. To what extent we, as groups or individual believers, choose to listen to and to apply such guidance is another matter.
Here in the Church Age, God has a Master Plan (Matt. 28: 19, 20) for the Church, and an individual plan (1Cor. 12: ) for each and every born-again believer. There is a time and a place for each step along the way.
Identifying the specific spiritual gift and accompanying area of spiritual ministry (service) to OTHERS plays a major role in the individual plan that God has in mind. One's participation in the Master Plan, sharing the Gospel Message and edifying Bible Doctrine, is in view wherever you are, regardless of what activity you engage.
The resulting experiences of those involved with Master Plan and the individual plans WILL be one of prosperity, adversity, and fiery ordeals. Welcome to the world of Biblical discipleship!
When in the midst of fiery ordeals, the advancing disciple will learn not to ask WHY, as the foregoing paragraph just answered the WHY question. What the advancing disciples will learn to ask is for WHAT PURPOSE did God (or did God allow another source to) send the fiery ordeal at the present time.
In closing, consider that being subjected to fiery ordeals are, in some cases, answers to prayer!
While such an experience is not impossible, I have not personally had a single prayer answered yet by hearing an audible voice from God. Yet, He has always provided me with immediate answers to my prayers such as yes, no, not right now, or it's in the book (Bible)!
He has always provided me with these immediate responses, and in some cases followed up with expanded explanations through events that happened (or failed to materialize) after having placed the matter in His hands.
When circumstances allow, good teachers will hand a student a dictionary rather that just give them a definition.
I don't remember the source, but I remember hearing that one can feed a hungry man once by handing him a fish, but the man would be better served if one teaches him how to fish!
Having personally benefited by prayer, I would NEVER dispute it's power. At the same time I have experienced the crushing impact of His No answers, when at least at the time, there was no comprehensible reason for what He either sent or allowed to take place. He will never forsake us (Hebrew 13: 5), but that doesn't mean that we can not emotionally feel that way in the midst of a fiery ordeal. Going by how we feel is a Satanic trap.
We often ROTELY pray, "THY will be done...(Matt. 6: 10 KJV)," but get all upset when His will does not line up with our will or prayer REQUESTS. What we really were praying for was for My Will to be done.
EVERYTHING that takes place (or fails to take place) IS the manifestation and revelation of God's direct, permissive, or over-ruling will. Of the three, it is the things that His permissive will allows that will often be the greatest challenge to one's faith.
After doing our part (if there is one) and making the matter a matter of prayer, the advancing disciples will then place the timing, the process, and whatever the outcome turns out to be in God's hands (1Pet. 5: 7). In doing so, the advancing disciple sets the stage to experience the (Phil. 4: 6) peace that surpasses all human comprehension, applying the principle of Romans 8: 28. The "ALL things" of Romans 8: 29 include the good, the bad, the ugly, the blessings, and the tragedies that were written in the our book BEFORE we took our first breath (Psalms 139: 16).
Only an omniscient God compose such a book.
The devil and the Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil will use all resources available to deny God the glory and to deny the advancing disciple this type of peace in the midst of adversity. Human beings want to avoid adversity, and to take the shortest possible route out of it when it comes. But this is NOT always the will of God.
I've heard many people say that they have prayed for this or that, but their prayers were not answered.
The truth is that all prayers receive an IMMEDIATE yes, no, or not right now response.
If it is the fiery ordeal of adversity, discipline, or refinement (removing the dross) that we (or the people we pray for) need in order to move forward in the plan (will) of God, then such fiery ordeals ARE God's answers to the prayers we make.
End of Part Two