Faithful stewards of the mysteries of God learn that revelation begets revelation. One discovery of the truth broadens our mindset to reveal or further explain the topography and ways of the kingdom of God. It’s like a steward finding fertile ground on the backside of his master’s estate and then plowing up large nuggets of gold. For some reason, I have in my mind’s eye Jed Clampett shooting at a rabbit and discovering oil.

Anyway, back to the reality of our Father’s kingdom…

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6

God is not hiding the truth from us that we might never find it. He lovingly accommodates those with an expressed interest in faithful stewardship.

In our article on Living Without Sin, we explored the separation of our spirit man – the one born of God – and our flesh. The importance of this discovery is worth repeating, in summary:

  1. God offers the grace we need to live in victory over sin. We lay hold of that grace through faith (not self-effort).
  2. Recognizing that sin resides within our flesh and not in us (those born of God) gives us clarity and great encouragement for the battle we face against the sin in our lives. God the Holy Spirit is at enmity with the sin in our flesh; not with us. He is our all-powerful ally in the war against sin.
  3. With clarity comes responsibility. As new creatures in Christ, no longer deceived about the battlefield and gloriously aware of His battle tactics, we must take ownership for putting down our flesh (by the Spirit).

This discovery – particularly #2 – leads to an incredibly encouraging revelation about the role suffering plays in the battle against our flesh and its mind.

The Good Purpose of Suffering

Once we realize that our flesh is not a part of who we are as men and women born of God, we can use all forms of suffering to further separate our newly created self from the flesh and its mind. In a very real sense, our new, born-of-God self is not negatively affected by persecution, affliction, trial, and tribulation.

Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Luke 6:22-23

The external pressure we experience as Christians are reason for rejoicing (see Luke 6:22-23).

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Handled correctly, suffering mortifies the flesh and exposes the carnal mind’s pitiful self-centeredness while turning and drawing the new man to God and His kingdom. When we love God and our enemies, God enters into our suffering with power and protection from the whining influence of our flesh. With our flesh and carnal mind effectively silenced, hearing and obeying God’s voice becomes a more regular response to suffering.

Furthermore, the sufferings of this world remind us that there are two kingdoms. Our flesh resides in the lower realm of darkness while we – the ones born of God – enjoy the upper kingdom of light. Consequently, our separation from our flesh and its mind is worked out supernaturally when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus into His life of sacrificial love for brothers, neighbors, and enemies. In other words, embracing the suffering that God allows into our lives helps drive a wedge between our spirit man and our flesh.

In closing, let me suggest one additional and extremely important point. As born-again children of God, we must be very careful to avoid settling for the compromised condition where our flesh does not complain too much and we do not feel too awkwardly separate from God. This is a gray and lukewarm place, and a deception of our carnal mind and Satan. It is a place of hand-holding and conspiracy with the enemies of God.

As those born of God, we must force ourselves to see the contrast of light and darkness from a heavenly perspective, suspiciously inspect our subconscious thinking, courageously categorize everything into these two extremes; and lastly, we must earnestly strive to enter through the narrow gate and walk down the difficult path that leads to life.

God bless you with revelation upon revelation, and the courage to pursue the righteous and holy life.

Humbly yours and forever His,