Class Notes: 5/25/2011
Prayer is not a solution for suffering. Recall and Application of Bible Doctrine is the only solution.
In our continuing study of the doctrine of suffering we left off last time with the principle that 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.
Prov 19:8; "He who gets wisdom loves his own soul (spiritual self-esteem); he who stores up understanding will prosper (spiritual autonomy)." Net note 27
Providential preventative suffering is a vehicle for the advance to spiritual maturity because it is used to help the believer develop a system of problem solving.
1Pet 1:6-8, "In this (the awareness of the inheritance) you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have distresses from various testings (providential preventative suffering);
v6 so that the proof of your doctrine (use of Bible doctrine from spiritual self-esteem), being more precious than gold which is losable, even though tested by fire (providential preventative suffering), may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (the evaluation after the exit resurrection)
The phrase "Tested by fire" is used because when you put gold in fire, the gold melts and can be purified. In a similar manner providential preventative suffering is used to purify the believer. This means that the providential preventative suffering you have in this life is providing you the opportunity for praise, honor and glory at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
v 8 "And though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with inexpressible happiness and full of glory (spiritual maturity)."
Phil 1:29, "For to you it has been given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."
Believers don't suffer for His sake when they make their own problems and are reaping the consequences of their own bad decisions and bad judgment. Suffering for His sake is when believers are encountering unexplained and undeserved suffering for blessing
Providential preventative suffering is described as various categories of testing that produces faithful endurance or spiritual autonomy.
James 1:2-4; "Consider it all happiness, my brethren (royal family), when you encounter various testings (of many kinds in providential preventative suffering),
v3 knowing that the testing of your doctrine (spiritual self-esteem applies metabolized doctrine to providential preventative suffering to attain spiritual autonomy) produces faithful endurance (spiritual autonomy).
v4 And let faithful endurance (spiritual autonomy) have its perfect result (spiritual autonomy plus momentum testing equals spiritual maturity), that you may be mature (spiritual maturity) and complete (spiritual maturity plus evidence testing equals glorification of God to the maximum in the angelic conflict), lacking nothing (no unconveyed escrow blessings)"
This passage describes providential preventative suffering as the category of suffering that restrains sin and challenges spiritual self-esteem to suffer for blessing in the midst of adversity.
Metabolized doctrine results in virtue love as a problem solving device that includes spiritual self-esteem. Spiritual self-esteem meets the challenge of providential preventative suffering resulting in establishing Bible doctrine as one's highest priority.
Providential preventative suffering is therefore a means of establishing right priorities in the spiritual life of the believer. Providential preventative suffering is preliminary suffering that is a warm-up for momentum testing, 2Cor 12:7-10;
v7, "And for this reason (Paul in spiritual self-esteem), to keep me from becoming arrogant because of the extraordinary quality of revelation (the mystery doctrine of the church age), I was given for my blessing and benefit a thorn in the flesh (providential preventative suffering), an angel from Satan (thorn demon), that he might torment me lest I should become arrogant (providential preventative suffering restrains one from arrogance)."
No one can attain spiritual self-esteem prior to establishing personal love for God as a problem solving device. Until the believer has personal love for God from metabolized doctrine, he cannot have personal love for self as the legitimate, spiritual function of spiritual self esteem in the first stage of spiritual adulthood.
v8, "Concerning this (thorn in the flesh), I appealed to the Lord three times (three wrong, intensive prayers), that it ( the thorn) might be removed from me."
Providential preventative suffering, like all suffering for blessing, is not designed to be removed by prayer. It is administered by God, and what God does not remove He intends for us to bear.
Believers are not to pray for the removal of any suffering, whether the purpose is for blessing or discipline because the suffering has a specific doctrinal purpose in the plan of God and without it the believer cannot fulfill the objectives of God's plan for their life.
We must understand the role and significance of spiritual self-esteem in order to appreciate Paul's false application of doctrine in his prayer for God to remove his thorn in the flesh.
You do not pray for the removal of the only means of advancing you to spiritual maturity. You do not pray for the removal of suffering for blessing whereby the protocol plan of God is fulfilled. Whatever suffering God does not remove He intends for you to bear as suffering for blessing.
You do not pray for the removal of the only system of power that parlays spiritual self-esteem into spiritual autonomy and spiritual autonomy into spiritual maturity and that is the means of the maximum glorification of God.
Prayer is not a problem solving device, but you can and should pray for others who are undergoing suffering. You don't judge why they're suffering, but you do pray for those who suffer. This is a privilege of the royal priesthood. Prayer is a weapon of power in the hands of the royal priest because it is the way the believer can bring resources from eternity into the present.
But you never pray for the removal of suffering from yourself or from others. All suffering and it's removal is a decision from the sovereignty of God.
The Christian does not pray for strength in time of suffering, because strength in suffering comes from the recall of the appropriate Bible Doctrine under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit.
Ignorant and negative believers try to use prayer for everything, because they have no doctrine to recall for application and spiritual growth.
God never puts on you more than you can bear; you do that to yourself under the law of volitional responsibility. Under his policy of grace, before God gives suffering for blessing, He always provides the means of handling it. Strength in suffering comes from the application of metabolized Bible doctrine under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual self-esteem combined with providential preventative suffering produces spiritual autonomy. Spiritual autonomy combined with momentum testing produces spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity combined with evidence testing produces maximum glorification of God.
v9 "Then He assured me (counsel from God), `My grace (the divine capitalization of every Church Age believer) has been and still is sufficient for you, for power ( through the three stages of spiritual adulthood) is achieved with weakness (the inability to use human assets in three categories of suffering for blessing).
So then I will with delight boast in (grace orientation to the provision of suffering for blessing) all the more about my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ ( that comes from the application of the Word of God that is the thinking of Christ to experience) may reside in me (through the mechanics of the Divine power system)."
Everything necessary to fulfill the protocol plan of God was provided in eternity past in the portfolio of invisible assets. Included in this is the gift of pastor-teacher for the communication of Bible doctrine, God the Holy Spirit for the teaching and recall of Bible doctrine and the suffering necessary for it's application for advance.
Suffering does not in itself have meaning, but it becomes a venue for the focus of God's power concurrent with our weakness, weakness that is brought about by suffering for blessing. Suffering for blessing focuses on God's grace, and turns boasting away from self-glorification into worship, love, and appreciation for God.
Paul is boasting because this is not punitive preventative suffering. It is suffering for blessing whereby God is glorified. This is boasting in a good sense, because it looks away from Paul and toward the grace provision of God. It is not boasting to glorify self, but the dynamic mental attitude of spiritual self-esteem facing providential preventative suffering.
2Cor 12:10; "For this reason I find contentment or am well pleased with (see Net note 16) weaknesses (physical ailments), in slanders (people testing), in pressures (thought testing), in persecutions (system testing), in stresses (disaster testing) on behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
These five tests are the warm-ups for what may be expected in momentum testing. Spiritual self-esteem develops spiritual strength from passing these five tests, and attains spiritual autonomy.
Whenever we face suffering for blessing only divine solutions work. Suffering for blessing therefore causes the believer to be weak in human solutions so that he has to depend on the divine provision for problem solving.
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