“Temptations, hidden snares, Often take us unawares, And our hearts are made to bleed, For many a thoughtless word or deed, And we wonder why the test, When we try to do our best, But we’ll understand it better by and by.” — Charles Albert Tindley, 1851-1933
For as long as I have been a Christ-follower, Christians have been trying to get rid of suffering. There is large heretical industry devoted to literally selling people on the concept of painless and ultra-comfortable Christianity. However, even when people deny that they believe the so-called Word of Faith/New Apostolic Reformation heresy, promoted by religious TV and Charisma Magazine, many individuals subliminally agree with the objective.
The objective is to live a suffering-free, prosperous, stress-free, Christianity and scoot into heaven at the end of a long and comfortable life. That is not the scriptural depiction of one that truly follows Christ. If such an objective is pursued, one may continue to call him or her self a Christian, but he or she is likely not a genuine Christ-follower.
It is not that Christ-followers wish to suffer. They do not flagellate themselves to fulfill the daily quota of pain. Neither do they purposely seek hardships so that more spirituality can be realized. However, the necessity of carrying one’s cross is not fulfilled by wearing religious jewelry or t-shirts. The point is that it is not about seeking and inviting suffering, but about accepting the commitment to God’s will that causes one to encounter oppositional suffering. There is no ambiguity about the reason we suffer. One only has to look at the fruit.
Of all other experiences, suffering is likely the major reason why professing Christians are susceptible to being lured away from God. The fact is, and it is fact-checked by the Scriptures and many personal testimonies, that to hold onto what one has spiritually, and to progress, suffering is a requisite obstacle.
I am not referring to people suffering as a consequence of sin or wrong decisions. The suffering of a Believer is because he or she follows the will of God that goes against the flow of the flesh, World System, and Satan. It is like Satan is saying, “Try doing God’s will and I will make you pay!”
There are always two paths. One is the often the rugged way God that leads us. The other is a smooth path that has the pretense of God’s will because it is exalted by hirelings, heretics, false prophets, and their many followers. As more people choose the smooth path, Christianity becomes palatable and decrepit proportionately.
Long ago, Satan came before God and basically declared that he had no resistance in the world. God pointed out that there was one man, Job, that he had no power over. Satan’s reply should be carefully and thoroughly considered.
Satan replied, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?” — Job 1:10
The point is that Satan believes no one can remain faithful to God if he can bring suffering on them. He has been correct about that belief the majority of the time. However, God knew otherwise in the case of Job. He knew that Job was not faithful to Him because of the absence of suffering.
Job was upright, blameless, feared God, and shunned evil. He suffered—but refused to deny God.
The apostle Paul wrote a litany of sufferings he had endured, but refused to deny God or deviate from the path of His Will. (2 Corinthians 11:23-33, 12:1-10)
Now we are at the end of the age. The leaders of Christianity, the hirelings, heretics, false prophets, are fomenting alternative Christianity. It is none offensive to apostates and younger generations born in apostasy. They in effect deny the words of the apostle Peter.
The following is a long passage, but it is the pure word or God that slams the door shut in the face of the Tempter and his minions advocating for “Judas” Christianity.
“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 2:19-21,4:1-2,12-14,16,19, 5:8-10)