Class Notes: 5/22/2011
God is in complete control of 100% of the believer's suffering and He uses it to advance the believer in His predetermined plan
One of the purposes for our study of the doctrine of suffering is for us to change our mind about suffering by having our thinking renovated by what the word of God has to say about it in passages like Gen 50:20 and 2Cor 4:15;
When we are in the midst of suffering we should be asking ourselves "how is God going to turn this into a blessing?" or "How is this for my sake and the advancement of the Glory of God?" and then look for answers to those questions.
Last time we left off with the idea that suffering for blessing is system that God uses to advance the believer to the point where they have the capacity to testify as a witness in the unknown and undeserved suffering of evidence testing.
Evidence testing is reserved for mature believers because suffering for blessing does not occur on a regular basis until the believer has attained spiritual self-esteem and as a result has a personal sense of destiny and understands "why".
Every category of suffering for blessing infers an advance in the spiritual life, and means that the believer is one step closer to fulfilling the protocol plan of God for the Church Age.
Each category of suffering for blessing is provided by the sovereignty of God under His grace policy so that the Church Age believer, as a member of the royal family, can advance in the protocol plan of God.
With the exception of the suffering that is left over after rebound, there is very little suffering for blessing until the believer attains spiritual self-esteem through residence, function, and momentum inside the God's power system for the church age because most of the suffering prior to that is self induced.
This means that spiritual self-esteem is the dividing line between suffering for discipline and suffering for blessing.
When we understand this we understand why believers should not pray for suffering to be removed because suffering for blessing provides the necessary pressure for the believer to advance in the protocol plan of God.
Preventative suffering comes in two forms: punitive preventative suffering and providential preventative suffering.
Punitive preventative suffering is related to the believer in spiritual childhood, while providential preventative suffering is related to the believer in spiritual self esteem.
Punitive preventative suffering addresses the believer out of fellowship, providential preventative addresses the believer in fellowship.
Punitive preventative suffering punishes a guilty believer, motivates rebound, and serves as a restraint for the believer when under temptation. Punitive preventative suffering takes the form of warning and intensive discipline, while providential preventative suffering is the first category of suffering for blessing that tests the personal sense of destiny and spiritual self esteem.
Punitive preventative suffering is designed by God as part of warning and intensive discipline to punish sin, to motivate rebound, and to restrain when tempted. It is designed to restrain the believer from the repetition of sin or failure and persistent function in the cosmic system.
Punitive preventative suffering is analogous to children being disciplined by their parents. Parental discipline teaches the child self-restraint, respect for authority, and how to live in a free society under the laws of divine establishment.
The results of punitive preventative suffering is expressed in Psa 119:67-72; This passage shows us that punitive preventative suffering motivates the believer to have positive volition to the word of God.
We have seen that there are three stages of spiritual adulthood and three categories of suffering for blessing, with each stage of spiritual adulthood having a corresponding category of suffering for blessing that is designed to advance the believer in God's plan.
Spiritual Self esteem has providential preventative suffering, spiritual autonomy has momentum testing, and spiritual maturity has evidence testing.
Spiritual self-esteem plus providential preventative suffering equals spiritual autonomy plus momentum testing equals spiritual maturity plus evidence testing equals glorification of God as a witness for Christ while under maximum pressure from the cosmic system to deny him.
Spiritual self-esteem is the prerequisite to handling providential preventative suffering, just as spiritual autonomy is the prerequisite to handling momentum testing. God will never give you more than you can bear. Paul discusses this in the following passages.
2 Cor 12:9; "Then He assured me, `My grace has been and still is sufficient for you. For the power (spiritual adulthood) is achieved with weakness. When I am weak, then I am strong.'"
Phil 4:11-13; "Not that I speak with reference to want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
v12 In fact I have come to know how to be humbled (passive voice), and I have come to know how to live in prosperity (active voice). And in every circumstance I have been initiated in both how to be filled and how to be hungry, both how to be prosperous and how to suffer need.
v13 I have the power to attain all things through Him who keeps on making me strong."
Providential preventative suffering is designed to insulate us against the arrogance complex of sins. This means you begin to eliminate jealousy, self-pity, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, inordinate ambition, inordinate competition, and all the other mental attitude sins or the arrogance complex from your thinking.
It is preliminary or warm-up testing. 2Cor 12:10; lists five areas of adversity that correspond to the five momentum tests. In providential preventing suffering there is a warm-up for health testing, people testing, for system testing, for thought testing, and for disaster testing.
We see from this that providential preventative suffering not only insulates the believer from arrogance, but it prepares the believer for momentum testing that is the major hurdle in reaching spiritual maturity.
Providential preventative suffering is the provision of the sovereignty of God that in compatibility with His grace policy provides believers with the power necessary for spiritual self-esteem and the advance to spiritual maturity.
When spiritual self-esteem combines with providential preventative suffering, it forms spiritual autonomy or spiritual self-esteem with strength but without arrogance. Spiritual self-esteem cannot function apart from humility. Therefore, providential preventative suffering provides the believer with both power and humility.
Spiritual self-esteem can only function on humility that is comprised of grace, doctrine and authority orientation. Humility is required because the rejection of legitimate authority parlays spiritual self-esteem into arrogance.
When believers begin to attain their spiritual self identity they are especially vulnerable to the temptations related to the arrogance complex of sin. Providential preventative suffering prevents, restrains, intercepts, and insulates against sin and evil in the life while challenging spiritual self-esteem to endure suffering for blessing and advance.
A good illustration of this is when a woman falls in love with a man who walks out on her just before the marriage. She is upset and temporarily miserable, but this is much better than a lifetime of misery with the wrong man.
When spiritual self-esteem combines with providential preventative suffering, it forms spiritual autonomy that is exhibited by impersonal love for all mankind, authority orientation or enforced humility, genuine humility that insulates against arrogance during momentum testing, self-discipline, and obedience to the Word of God.
© Copyright 2022, Michael Lemmon Bible Ministries. World Rights Reserved.