Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Conviction and Affliction

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
(1 Thessalonians 1:6 – ESV)

Look at Acts 14:22 and Philippians 1:29-30 – Now look carefully at this truth about the word. From 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6, we see that the word comes in the power of the Holy Spirit with conviction, and it must be received in the joy of the Holy Spirit with affliction. Do you see that? Comes with conviction, received with affliction. Comes in power, received in joy. The Holy Spirit gives you someone who is convinced of the truth proclaimed and it gives you joy despite the circumstances you hear it in. That is the pattern.

Isn’t that the way, friends? How many times have you been downcast or under some stress, and you needed a word, and someone who seemed convinced about what they were saying brought you a word from the Bible that had the ring of authority to it? You sincerely follow the word, you do it, you are an imitator of it, because although you are in a crisis that word seems to have a touch of joy to it, like it is the thing you need to be able to endure. Having much affliction but still having joy is a supernatural thing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48-52).

Why must we receive it with affliction? Because we need to remember that it is true in spite of the world, the message is overcoming the world. We receive it under such circumstances because then we truly need it; we receive it in spite of what our world looks like at the time. That word is right and then overcoming the world in our lives. We receive it and if we keep receiving it and believing it this will keep us overcoming the world (1 John 5:4). That doesn’t mean the bad stuff always goes away it means that even if the heat increases our purity will too. The fires of persecution only serve to stoke the fires of God in our lives, if we will believe.

Mark 4 describes the fact that we will receive it under stress because the world the flesh and the devil want to steal the word but these same circumstances, instead of stealing the word, they can be sealing the word. We will receive a newfound joy, one with deep roots.

The word also causes affliction because it challenges us at our heart level. There are always some things we just don’t want to change, but we cannot simply pick and choose which areas we are comfortable changing in. We are still our own authority if we do that. We cannot have the Master be our joy when we are still the masters of our own joy. The Bread of Life often comes inside the bread of affliction.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


donsands said...

"instead of stealing the word, they can be sealing the word."

The most difficult foe for me, is my own flesh; it can be very weak at times, though the spirit is willing.

Thanks for another encouraging lesson to help kick-start the new year.

Have a great 2008, in His grace.

Even So... said...

Thank you for the encouragement, and may your 2008 be blessed as well, Don...