Don’t be Discouraged by Setbacks
This is for those whom possibly the most comforting Bible verse, Romans 8:28, applies to, “those who love God… them who are called according to his purpose.” Those who have chosen to deny themselves, take their cross, and follow Jesus Christ in order to be dead indeed unto sin, alive unto God, and endure the arduous process of being renewed according to God’s image should not be discouraged by setbacks. All others have a greater problem in that they don’t love God and aren’t rightly responding to His purpose which He calls all men to through Christ’s Gospel. This is not spoken to these directly, though it will speak of the suffering for righteousness which they are not doing and of the great promises and true security of being in God’s grace which they are missing out on due to their neglect of the great salvation which Christ is striving by His Spirit to bring them to cooperate with and lay hold of.
It’s really interesting that when the man who eventually became the Apostle Paul was still Saul the persecutor on a mission to stamp out Christianity, his turnaround moment came when a bright light from heaven blinded him as he was on a mission trip (not all missions are good). Christ spoke to him in his weakened and handicapped state. This led to his conversion to Christ and changed the nature of both the short-term mission he was on, as well as the overall mission of his life. That much isn’t hard to comprehend to the natural mind. We know that it is well that a man doing evil be chastised. Yet what is not so easy to comprehend is when a man who is doing right and serving God with his whole heart gets the same kind of pain and frustration in doing so that it is fitting for a wicked man to get in pursuing evil and serving the devil. It is really interesting to compare Paul’s description of his sufferings as a faithful, top notch Christian missionary with the types of sufferings that God threatened Israel with if they should do wickedly and be disobedient to Him. There are some similarities! Yet as we’ll see, there are some key differences, especially the key difference in the reasons for God delivering over a person to such in each case.
Deuteronomy 28:45-48 (directed at wicked Israel): “Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.”
2 Corinthians 11:23-31 (Paul’s sufferings as a faithful Christian missionary): “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.”
Obviously the first of these two passages is describing God chastening wicked Israel as their enemy and vindicating His righteous ways by doing so (and in the grand scheme of things even that is love towards those being chastened, persuading to come to their senses and repent before they are sent to eternal hell-fire without remedy). And in the second of the two passages it is something different, which we will get to. Yet it is amazing to consider that God would allow His faithful servant to go through things like this in the very midst of faithful service for Him! It is no wonder that a wicked man vacationing to pursue sin would meet such trouble. It is no great wonder even that a lukewarm Christian vacationing primarily for his own happiness would meet such trouble. But a servant of God being cold, hungry, thirsty, without adequate clothing, and even getting shipwrecked multiple times and spending about 24 hours in the sea while faithfully doing the very work of God! How can that be?
So if you look at what God said about His judgments towards Israel, and you compare that with the lessons which Paul understood about suffering in righteousness, you notice a big difference not only in what God was seeking to accomplish by each, but also in the different attitude which He wanted to instill in each case. He wanted those whom He was chastening for wickedness to be discouraged, dismayed, confounded, frustrated, etc. That was part of His reason for bringing the judgment! That was necessary to vindicate righteousness. Yet when the righteous suffer in doing righteousness, He seeks to comfort them and tells them not to be discouraged, dismayed, confounded, frustrated, etc. He has a good reason for allowing this and He has good intentions if they trust Him and cooperate in faith. You see this in each of the passages which we’ve looked at when considered in their respective contexts. Consider the lessons in each case which God is seeking to give and the attitudes which He is seeking to impart in those being afflicted.
“Deuteronomy 28:58-68: “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Thy God; 59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. 60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. 61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. 63 And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. 64 And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. 65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: 66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: 67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. 68 And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-10: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
The Law of God and one’s attitude towards it is the standard to determine which category they are in as they suffer. The righteous may need pain and trials to train and to purify them- and likely even more so as their labor becomes more potentially beneficial for God’s kingdom. And though there are some who falsely think that God is with them because they are suffering, and others who think God is with them because they are prospering and at ease, we should submit to God’s Law and obey God’s Word to the best of our ability- and let that be the judge of whether God is with us so we will read our circumstances like we ought to and get what we ought to get out of them. Because there is no way to judge for sure based upon our circumstances taken alone.
Ecclesiastes 9:1-2: “For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them. 2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.”
There are special judgments which God gives to certain sinners and there are certain problems which everyone receives, especially death itself. Likewise there are certain trials which the righteous may especially receive in God’s service. We see how in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 how Paul had established that pursuing righteousness and being in line with Christ is the sure way, and the only way, to know that one’s sufferings are accompanied by God’s favor and producing blessings which are eternally profitable. Paul obviously said this as one with experience in serving Christ, suffering for His sake, and learning firsthand the good that this has the potential to produce as he pursued the accomplishment of Christ’s great commission in every circumstance which he encountered.
2 Corinthians chapter 4: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
So the bottom line is, if you’re a Christian who loves God and serves Him with your whole heart, don’t be discouraged and don’t be dismayed when life is going bad for you. And I mean that especially when your ministry and your hopes in serving God get setback and maybe even seem shattered. That is simply not the case if you are obedient to His Word and as long as you don’t let setbacks prevent you from continuing to trust and love God.
Joshua 1:7-9: “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
noun: dismay: consternation and distress, typically that caused by something unexpected.
noun: consternation: feelings of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected.
noun: distress: anxiety, sorrow, or pain.
Even not being afraid nor dismayed in adversity is a command! And as hard as that may be, we can cry like the man in the Gospels “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” In the last study I did the Ziklag experience was talked about, referencing David and his men suddenly finding the village they were staying in called Ziklag burned and plundered while they had gone out to a battle. All of their families and possessions were gone. Dismay, consternation, and distress were the things which tempted David and might have destroyed him had he not adhered to the basic principle that God commands His servants to trust Him and not be dismayed when things like calamity and other setbacks hit. That is how David encouraged himself in the Lord his God and went forward in faith to obtain recovery and victory. We also talked about how oftentimes recovery and victory for us may be a slower process, but God is still faithful and this principle still applies even as calamities and other setbacks get prolonged and drag out a long time.
Here is just a sample of the setbacks that might hit a faithful Christian, in some cases especially a preacher or one who is involved in Christian ministry in one way or another.
- Poor health: You are afflicted so that your physical affliction hinders you from serving the Lord like you did before or at least requires attention to treat so that it distracts and limits you in God’s service. This happened to some of God’s servants in the Bible (Epaphroditus in Philippians chapter 2, Trophimus in 2 Timothy 4, the Apostle Paul included infirmities in his weaknesses which he faced for Christ’s sake in 2 Corintihans chapter 12, etc). It is very, very possible that Paul had poor eyesight for some reason. He obviously dictated his letters to another who did the actual writing with ink and pen, he spoke of the Galatians if possible being willing to pluck out their eyes and give them to him, he got bit by a viper in Acts ch 28 which may have happened due to his failure to see it initially- it is even possible that he was never fully healed from when the Lord blinded his eyes on the road to Damascus).
- Sudden calamity: Like we saw above in David’s case. Robbery, fire, loss of property in other ways, separation from family, imprisonment, etc.
- Sentence to prison or banishment. It can remove a man from important Gospel ministry which he is involved in, which for a faithful Gospel minister probably was the reason for the imprisonment or at least was likely the reason for the false accusation which might lead to imprisonment. Yet the Lord might have an even greater work for such in prison or banishment if they continue in faith through such. Look at how several of Paul’s epistles were written from prison, the conversion of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, and how the Apostle John wrote Revelation when he was banished on the isle of Patmos. Perhaps the Lord sees someone in such a situation just needs to focus on drawing near to Him and open their ears so that they can do or prepare for a work so complicated, detailed, and requiring such precision that they could not do it or get ready to do it otherwise. I think there are some hearing this who can testify that they’ve had some assignments in or after some great affliction which they couldn’t replicate doing at the moment, and probably never could again, unless they were put in a very strait place again like they had been before.
- Biblical Adjustments: Though a Biblical adjustment won’t cause any actual loss, and only gives the potential for real gain when all is said and done, it is still maybe even close to a guarantee if your influence is significant, that a Biblical adjustment will result in temporary loss, maybe reveal the state of your church to not be as great as it seemed to be beforehand, and at the very least it is likely to generate some unpleasant controversy. Some listening now have seen this by ridding their fellowships of fleshly music and transitioning to more spiritual music. Obviously this has happened to some on a grand scale as they understood, and began to preach and enforce, true Biblical repentance and holiness.
- Divinely arranged circumstances intended to humble and/or instruct: You might find yourself due to circumstances having to work an unpleasant and/or difficult job in order to righteously fulfill your financial obligations towards God and man. God Himself might be the one orchestrating circumstances to force you to face an obstacle which He sees as needful to purify your heart and/or accomplish something in you to perhaps better fit you for some future thing, which He has no obligation to tell you about nor explain to you. You’re just there struggling to survive- and it may seem especially bitter because you see how things might be a lot easier, and even how you might be better freed up for Christian ministry in a direct way, if some really improbable looking things had not happened in a string of events to bring you to where you are. And I suggest, especially with those who have tasted authority and are used to it, He might see that you need to learn righteousness under authority to mold your heart as He sees it needs to be molded- and perhaps to also prepare you to handle greater authority in the future. This is a quote from the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. This is not good! “I can no longer obey. I have tasted power and I cannot give it up.” Such a circumstance might be God’s way of saving us from the way of Napoleon, since to navigate the strait and narrow way to life we need to be able to handle being under authority well. So many key lessons are also not likely to be learned otherwise. It is no wonder that Moses was forty years in the desert living with his father in law before he was ready to lead God’s people and deliver them from Egypt!
An illustration of why God might allow setbacks in us, not even necessarily to chastise for doing wrong, but even potentially as plan A for our lives: An artist was up on a platform looking at a painting he was in the process of painting on the ceiling of a large building. As he was walking backwards on the platform admiring what he was accomplishing, a co-worker who had joined him on the platform started to yell at him to stop because he was going to fall off the platform. Since he was not listening, the one who had warned him took a can of paint and threw it up at his picture. This caused the artist to stop and yell “You destroyed my picture!” Pointing to how he was one step from falling off the platform if he had kept walking back admiring his painting, the other said “I may have destroyed your picture, but I saved your life.”
It is possible to get so wrapped up in our own plans and ideas, even in serving God, that the most merciful thing God can do is allow our plans and ideas to be ruined. If He does this, He does it with the intent that we should be built back up in Him and work to build the Body of Christ in a way where we are more deeply seeking His guidance and waiting on Him to understand better what He wants from us, content to do no more but resolved to do no less! This takes training; and often it is not an all or nothing thing. He might let a corner of the picture be destroyed which will need to be redone. That which is genuinely of Him, that which has truly been worked and built by His grace, through a living faith in Christ, that is something precious to God which He would not destroy and which no man can take away! Such things are His very goal! But trials and certain circumstances reveal reality and separate the wheat from the chaff; and the gold, silver, and precious stones from the wood, hay, and stubble.
Hebrews 12:26-29: “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.”
1 Peter 1:7-9: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
If we finish our race in obedient faith, we win! Yet the quality of what we’re doing, of what we minister and build in Christ’s body, can still leave regret on judgment Day for even the faithful. Setbacks can give us hints about what we need to adjust and how we ought to adjust in order to maximize the quality of our service for the Lord. And obviously how we respond in setbacks will affect our own salvation too. The Bible does speak of Christian ministers who are victorious on a personal level whose ministries will be shown to be of little to no profit on Judgment Day. -See 1 Corinthians 3:5-15
So keep in mind that even real setbacks might be a mercy. Psalm 127:1-2: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” And keep in mind too that what seems to be a setback isn’t necessarily a setback at all- if we go forward from it walking by faith and trusting in the Lord.
Romans 15:30-32: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.”
This DID happen! However, you have to read the last 10 or 11 chapters of Acts to see HOW it happened. Not in the way the natural man would think; and probably in a crazier, less predictable way than even the Apostle Paul could have counted, even though he was probably less surprised by it than just about anyone else would be. It was a MESS! Paul probably wrote Romans from Corinth at some point in the timeline of Acts chapter 18. And the Book of Acts (which is 28 chapters) basically closes with Paul coming to Rome and meeting the Roman Christians by the will of God with joy and being refreshed. He WAS delivered from them that don’t believe in Judea and his service for Jerusalem turned out to be very acceptable, as well as beneficial, to the saints there. Yet he went through many attempts on his life, two city wide uproars, (at least) one horrible beating, an arrest (at least one), many trials before Governors and kings, years of imprisonment, being lost at sea, (at least) one shipwreck, and a lot else. And yet eventually it all got Paul to his eyes seeing this prayer (which was in tune with the Word and will of God) answered! And along the way, he got to glorify God, exhort God’s people in many other places, and testify of Christ in many places and before many people, small and great. And in Rome he got to rent a house, despite being a prisoner, where the Roman Christians could not only visit him and benefit from his fellowship and great understanding; they could send evangelism contacts to him also! And it is very possible, though the Bible doesn’t cover what happened after his two years as a Roman prisoner, it is very possible that he was released and went to Spain like he declared his intention to do in Romans also. He likely came back to Rome and was arrested, not as an enemy of the Jews, but as an enemy of the Roman State. He wrote 2 Timothy, and I think probably Philippians and Hebrews, during that imprisonment. He was then likely killed at the command of Nero just before, or during, the great persecution of Christians at Rome which happened after Nero blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians. Paul’s exhortations and example would have been powerful to help keep the Roman Christians faithful and trusting in the Lord during this time. And you can find quotes from some Roman historians about how brutal this persecution was.
Here is one such example from Tacitus, a Roman historian who did not have a moral objection to the persecution of Christians. He lived from about AD 55 to AD 117.
“But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called “Chrestians” by the populace.Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”
Another setback? Not when such sufferings come out of being faithful to Christ; and not a defeat, but rather the exact opposite! That is, when the faith is kept and Christ is with you throughout the ordeal. And though Paul’s words in Romans apply to all Christians in all ages, they may very well have had an extra special significance to the people they were very directly written to. Especially these:
Romans 8:35-37: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Romans 16:19-20: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
Luke 24:19-26: “And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”
What seems like a setback to man, unless perhaps he takes very careful heed to the Scriptures, can be God’s plan A! And it can be the very means of accomplishing the very mission which the apparent setback seems like not only opposition to, but even the very destruction of!
Romans 11:33-34: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?”
If you love God in truth and are ruled by His Word which His Spirit inspired, then His Spirit makes intercession for you in a deep way- and thus you can be sure that though God’s work in the world is always beyond the comprehension of men, that will especially be so with you! Deep prayers among the persons of the Trinity, the God whose wisdom and knowledge exceeds man’s in a way that words cannot express, may leave you in circumstances which make you puzzled and which you truly cannot see how God could ever work for your good. But be still, know that He is God, and do the things which you know you ought to do- and He will take care of the rest!
Romans 8:13-14, 22-28: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God…
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
And we close with Psalm 77: “I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
And who would have guessed that judging in the moment with natural eyes?
For any questions or clarification on this study, contact bro Aaron at [email protected].