As the Lord tells us many times in His Holy Scriptures, man’s problems come from two sources. For sinners (both churched and unchruched) problems take the form of God’s curses (disease, war, natural disasters, etc.). The problems God’s people face are caused by Satan’s use of his church system in the form of persecution, rejection, etc. God does not change. Nor does His Word/Law/Gospel/Truth/light. In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 He explains His Cause and Effect Law in detail. A cursory reading of those chapters tells us that man determines which type of problems he will face. If he sins, God will punish him. If he obeys, Satan will punish him. IN THIS LIFE MAN WILL HAVE PROBLEMS. PERIOD. What kind of problems man will have depends on whom he will obey: God or Satan. There are no other options and there is no mixing of allegiances. In the Lord’s eyes, it is all or nothing–Him or the devil. And the choice belongs to man.
When given the only two options relative to the path he will take, man invariably chooses the wrong one. As Scripture tells us, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The choices are as different as up and down. This was brought out by Moses when He told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30: “I set before you this day life and good, and death and evil” (vs 15). In verse 16 he defines “good” as loving God and obeying the Words. Moses told them that loving (obeying) God would cause blessings to come from on high. However, in verses 17 and 18 he warns that not loving (disobeying) God would cause curses to come from on high. In verse 19 Moses summarized the message God had sent to His people: choosing good (loving Him) would produce blessings in this life and would result in eternal life. To the contrary, choosing evil (not loving Him) would produce curses in this life and would result in eternal death. Moses recommended that they “choose life, that both you and your seed may live: that you will love the Lord your God, obey His voice and cling to Him, for He is your life and the Determiner of the length of your days ….” (vs 20).
True to His Word, God punished Israel for disobeying Him relative to entering the Promised Land. For the next 40 years they wandered in the Sinai Desert while He killed off the generation that had refused to obey Him. Moses would also die during that time because of an act of disobedience. Before his death, Moses appointed Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land after their punishment had ended. Hear what Joshua told the children of Israel as recorded in Joshua 24:15 as they gathered beside the Jordan River in preparation to cross it and enter into their inheritance: “… choose you this day whom you will serve ….” There were then and are now two deities from which to choose: the Lord God or Satan. They would believe, obey, worship and serve whichever deity they chose.
Many years later Jesus of Nazareth would voice that same Truth, saying: “If a man serve Me he must follow (obey) Me” (Jn. 12:26). In Romans 6:16 the Apostle Paul reiterated that Truth by telling the church at Rome: “Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey.” As Paul told God’s church then and tells His church now, one is either “the servant of sin unto death or a servant of righteousness” unto eternal life. As he wrote in 5:21 and 6:22, righteousness and holiness are commanded for those who would be saved. Those virtues are developed as one obeys God’s Law.
If obedience unto God’s Word produces eternal life in the hereafter, would not obedience to Him not produce peace, joy and victory in this present life? Think about what the early church went through and the joy, peace and tranquility in which they lived, knowing that eternity with the Lord awaited them in the future. For the child of God, this life is ALL about his future in God’s presence. And we must earn that future through obedience to the Lord.
We are told in no uncertain terms that trouble awaits those who choose to obey God. Jesus promised those who would follow Him: “These things I have spoken to you that you might have peace. In this world YOU WILL HAVE TRIBULATION, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). We are warned that, “Through MUCH TRIBULATION we MUST enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). It is for this reason we are warned to “count the cost” of obedience to God. We are also told that those who refuse to pay the cost of discipleship are not fit for God’s kingdom and will not enter therein.
I have found it odd, if not amusing, that those in my family, as well as friends and acquaintances, come to me for help when things go wrong. They will have nothing to do with me on the spiritual level when things are going well. They come to me because they know that I know, write and speak the Lord’s Truth. However, they want no part of it. That is, until “life” deals them a problem. The question is, why don’t they simply obey God and receive power by which they can shrug off the problem? In other words, why do they not solve their own problems by taking them to the Lord? Why do they continue to struggle against the pitfalls of life alone. They know that their church leaders CANNOT and God WILL NOT help them. Why will they not embrace God and His Truth and obey it?
The answer has two parts: PRIDE AND FEAR. Simply put, they know that if they embrace the Lord and obey His Word they will be admitting that they are not merely wrong, but that they have been wrong all along. Man’s pride will not allow this. Then there is the fear of being rejected by their churchmates, friends, business associates and family members on the spiritual level. And REJECTION WILL COME if one embraces the Biblical God and obeys His Law. Rejection came to Jesus from all areas, and it will come to us the same way. The servant is not above his Master, for whatever they have done to the Tree they will do to the branches. Thus says the Lord.
So what, according to churchman, is the key to dealing with life’s problems? His answer is multifacited: stay the course; stay in church; walk the church path; obey church doctrine (when it’s convenient); live the lies that constitute the doctrine of Catholicism/Protestantism; reject God’s Truth and those who proclaim it; convince oneself that, though one’s heaven is iron and his earth is brass, all is well because he is saved and born again and just needs to hang on until the end. Ironically, the church calls this Satanic course of action “the Christian way” and the inevitable outcome “victory.”
Obedience to God is the solution to the saint’s problems in this life. Obedience produces holiness which serves as the saint’s “armor” against Satan’s “fiery darts”–temptations that come his way. And they will come. They came at Jesus, the prophets, the apostles and the saints of old. Read Persecution. Downloaded by using that word. The Apostle James’ (1:2,3) solution was both simple and difficult: “Count it all joy” when you find yourself facing rejection from Satan’s church. Know that the trying of your soul creates perfection in your heart. Overcoming Satan’s attacks is much easier said than done. But we must overcome if we are to spend eternity with the One Who died so that we could receive the Holy Spirit to empower us to “overcome even as I overcame” so that we can sit with Him on His throne in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 3:21). L.J.