The More I Suffer, the Freer I Become
Forged in the Fire!
Liberty and Blessing
“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 honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7
You have saving faith – and it’s on trial!!!! That alone is cause for celebration!!
“Adversity is the companion to every Christian on his way to paradise. The more difficult the path, the more joy for him who follows the LORD.” AW Tozer
Have you found more freedom through seasons of testing and trials?
Are you always seeking and in “the house of mourning” … or “feasting”?
Kingdom perspective: Ecclesiastes 7:2-5 What’s “better”?
“It is BETTER to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is BETTER than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is BETTER to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:2-5
Should the LORD’s children view suffering a curse or a blessing? Though God doesn’t author evil, He sure uses every trial, attack, and suffering to conform us to Christ’s holy image:
“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. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
The LORD has predestinated that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” He didn’t say that He causes all these things but He does tell us that He works them all “together for good” to those who love Him – and those who truly love Him obey His command to deny self, take up the daily cross, and “be conformed to the image of his Son.“
“How much more crushing can you take? Until we know and truly understand, beyond head knowledge that we are less than nothing, we will not know that He is more than everything.” Mark Cowan
With this biblical truth in mind, that trusting and following Christ through suffering ultimately causes liberty in our lives, consider:
“For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:7
“He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” 1 Peter 4:1
“The pressure in your life right now has a purpose. It’s not crushing you, it’s pushing what’s on the inside of you out. It shows you who you are.” unknown
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
As we walk the narrow road with our LORD Jesus, suffering for righteousness sake, He will do 4 things in our lives – “perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
Have you ever prayed that the LORD would more deeply ground your life in Him? – Suffering will be included in His answer…. and so will PSSS… 1 Peter 5:10
WHAT is needed to be perfected, established, strengthened, and settled in the LORD? Answer: Suffering and continuing to worship, to trust, and serve God in it! (1 Peter 5:10)
The LORD is the Potter and we are His clay (Jeremiah 18:6). The purging, the stripping must occur in each of our lives. Even men like Joseph and Job had to be stripped.
“Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. 7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. 8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. 9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. 10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.” Job 19:6-10
In the divine economy, the dead and burial always happen in order to bring about the resurrection (Isaiah 37:31; John 12:23). Such a phenomenon can be observed throughout the Bible, God’s people, and into the future glorious kingdom reign of Christ (Revelation 21, etc.).
In Psalm 105 we see a recounting of the work of God beginning with Abraham and into the life of Joseph and the captivity of His people in Egypt. In verse 37 of this chapter we see the season of resurrection beginning, unfolding
Ps 105:37—- “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.”
This was the beginning of the season of resurrection for God’s people after their death and buried in the land of Egypt.
Paul’s thorn was a blessing…..
On Paul’s thorn, FB Meyer writes:
“We do not know what this thorn, or stake, was-whether eye trouble, or imperfect utterance, or some deformity in appearance-but it was the source of much suffering and many temptations. At first Paul prayed for its removal, but as soon as he learned that its continuance was the condition of receiving additional grace, he not only accepted it, but even gloried in its presence.”
The more we suffer, the freer we become! With this in mind, perhaps we will cease shunning and despising the sufferings we endure in this brief life and cry out to our Father in Heaven to use them to conform us to Christ’s image.
Idolatry will Damn the Soul
Are you bowing to the idols of our day? Is the LORD truly first place in your life – your time and treasure (money)? Are the affections of your heart set upon the LORD and Savior today or upon your own needs, desires, and life?
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me … Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 20:3; 34:12-14
Dancing in the Fire with the Fourth Man!
Remember in Daniel 3 when the three Hebrew children were thrown into the fire for refusing to bow to any other but the Most High God?
“And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” Daniel 3:20-27
Notice that this passage reveals that “fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.” (v 23) For those looking on, this was bad news, right? It looked like these three men were done – dead! Remember, those who merely threw these three men into this raging fire died by just getting close to it!
Do you see the Gospel – death, burial, and resurrection – in this ordeal? After these three children of God were thrown in this violent fire to suffer (death), they “fell down” (burial), and then they were “loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt.” (resurrection) – “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.” (Daniel 3:25-26)
Did you notice that “these men were bound” and “were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace“? The people witnessed the resurrection power of Christ, the fourth man – the Son of God! – “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?… Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
These 3 men were bound going in and free coming out of that fiery trial! At the cost of their own lives, they trusted the LORD who joined them in the fire and set them free. The only thing the trying fire did was to loose their bands and make them free!
The Three “Yielded their Bodies”
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
Laying down our lives always causes fruit that glorifies God – the fruit that only the LORD can produce. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego laid down their lives long before they were hurled into the limelight to be killed. They were already dead. – “Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:28-30
As was the case with king Nebuchadnezzar and the whole kingdom of Babylon (the world), so has it been and is it when God brings victory in the lives of those who truly trust Him. It is a great witness when others – both saved and lost – see God bring you through sufferings with great joy! This is when people begin to say in their hearts, “Wow, I want what they have!” The supernatural work and grace of our God is clearly seen in His people when they are blessed to endure sufferings with great joy – a great smile – as they continue “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” In fact, following Christ, which includes suffering, helps us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and” to “run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The 3 Hebrew children of God were kidnapped and forsaken by their ruthless captors, but there was a fourth man in the midst of that trial, even the Son of God! Though all those around your forsake you, the LORD will stand with you, keep you, and “preserve” you to the end:
“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:16-18
Our LORD has a plan to settle us, to mature, to establish, to bring His strength into our lives.
Notice that the breakthrough for these 3 Hebrew children of God came AFTER they suffered, not before. – “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, AFTER that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
4 Benefits of Suffering for Christ in 1 Peter 5:10:
- perfect (mature, equip),
- settle you
I call this the PSST “secret” – like when someone says to you: “pssst, hey. Come here, I have a secret to share with you.” PSST = Perfect, Stablish, Strengthen, Settle you!
Joy in the Fire
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4
Suffering is the occasion for the LORD to purify and bring your “forth as gold.”
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
The Gospel key for you to ever remember and employ, is to continue to die down deep – to be dead and buried with Christ – and raised up by His divine power to please Him in abundant fruitfulness as you look for His soon return!
Learn to be grateful and verbalize your thanksgiving to the LORD! Get those hands up today and praise and thank the LORD for blessing you to suffer and for all that you have in Him who is your “exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1) Praise Him today for the great mercy He has shown you! Ask Him to give you joy in the fire!
Remember that your Savior suffered immensely and yet is identified as the One who had more joy and gladness than any other (John 15:11; Hebrew 1:9). The Son of God came and lived sinlessly, suffered at the hands of wicked men, was crucified, buried, and raised again! He’s now reigning at the right hand of His Father in Heaven, making intercession for you to overcome all and to reign victoriously with Him forever!
All suffering and trials and tears will be for ever gone very soon, so enjoy them while you can! (Revelation 21:4; Hebrews 13:14).
The Blessing of Opposition | Persecution
For more on the blessing of suffering with Christ, study the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. | The Great Benefit of Suffering by F.B. Meyer | Bring it on Devil!
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