SKEPTISICM AND AFFLICTION
We are to know where our affliction comes from and who our adversary is. People will turn to themselves and be influenced by the enemy to make choices; think God, good and Satan, bad. We live in a fallen world where every decision has a consequence whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. In fact, some of the most devastating circumstances occur because believer’s don’t make any choice at all, allowing another person to usurp their authority because they didn’t pray or take action. The decisions that are not of God cause affliction, yet it is not always a clear cut distinction of motive when people’s emotions are involved. People have freewill because God longed for us to choose Him in relationship. Choosing life is our responsibility, and we do so by faithfully walking through hardship, knowing Daddy in Heaven doesn’t send it. When one does not honor God and acts selfishly or under the advisement of the enemy, it manifests in unbelief, bitterness or self preservation. Most of our affliction really begins on the fundamental level of skepticism, where deep in our hearts we doubt if God is really good and we question if He is even on our side.
*1 Tim 4:1-2 reads, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
This isn’t the most positive scripture to discuss but nonetheless it is a warning about deception and how our adversary, satan, uses it to steer believer’s away from truth. It is here where many say God is teaching a lesson. Yet the word is clear that choices and the enemy cause skepticism. A seed of doubt is all that evil needs to suggest for man to fall upon his own wisdom and question The Lord’s good nature. Perhaps one’s belief is not anchored in the word and he takes up the world’s belief system that God can’t speak to His people today. In many instances people have embraced faulty thinking in believing God allows bad things for a lesson. Our own beliefs made up through ungodly experience can hinder God’s availability to us through the Holy Spirit. It is our job to seek Him in quiet time and commune with Him so that we know which way to walk in life. This ongoing relationship is necessary to not be sucked into doubt or unbelief. If one doubts God’s goodness than everything sifted through that filter will look meek. The word tells us that some will answer to their own doctrines. Philosophy and theology are regurgitated teachings absent of the Holy Spirit. Unbelief has a right to maintain power where the world’s system has taken precedence over God’s.
2 Tim 4:2-5 exclaims, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure the afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
We will suffer because of the influence the enemy has on this earth. We will suffer when a brother or sister embraces unbelief over faith. But our affliction does not come from the loving Father we serve. Unbelief is the loophole where satan comes in to cause doubt. Perhaps it is this scripture where many caution against a word of knowledge, question prophecy or healing. Yet God will fight those battles for us. He will prove the things spoken by bringing them to pass. Healing will remain and the teachings will edify. To know sound doctrine when you hear it is a gift of discernment. To live in fear and unbelief when hearing a word causes one to never experience the outcome. In our exhaustion to fight for what we believe in by our own strength, we fall into temptation and fearfully hope against hope for our dedication to be blessed. Yet, that would mean that Daddy in Heaven is responsible for blessing our efforts when we could have sought His position beforehand about His strategy. Too often however, we become disappointed because our plans caused unnecessary suffering. In this place however, a moment of redemption is at hand if we turn toward Daddy and ask for belief to fill our hearts again.
Isn’t skeptism the same as us worrying about offending another should we talk about Jesus? I have been talking about Jesus before and have fellow Christians interrupt me and ask the person I’m conversing with if I’m offending them. This concern can lead to watering down of the Gospel and I witnessed the believer change their stance on commitment to Christ because they’d rather make friends with the person. I don’t want to worry about or be ashamed of the Gospel. The word will not go out void and speaking Jesus brings light into the darkness. If my words are in love then the message of Christ prevails.
Matt7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord Lord have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you: depart form Me, you who practice lawlessness! “Prior to that scripture we read in Matt 7:15-20, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” To remain skeptical is to have a level of unbelief in what God chooses to do. When the Holy Spirit leads He does so in all truth. The believer who moves in prophesy through the leading of Holy Spirit will bear the fruit of lasting change and bring others into the demonstration of God. We need not worry about the deliverer or his message for if it is from God the fruit will remain. Let that in and of itself be a testimony to God’s glory. The blood of Jesus frees us to move as the Holy Spirit instructs.
Maybe some believers are afraid the one doing the praying, healing or prophesying is in it for the glory of man instead of for the glory of God. If the deliverer is being led by the spirit all glory will go to God because the fruit will remain. Casting out belief in things that you have never experienced before is sure to keep you from growing in the Lord. There is always more in Christ. When a word challenges you or a supernatural manifestation stretches your ability to believe don’t throw it out. Seek God to see what He has in store for you because of what you just witnessed. There is enough skepticism in the world to dash dreams, visions and revelation on a natural level, but we are called to look toward Heaven. We should expect greater things on this earth and in turn grow spiritually to bear more fruit. What we experience we can then give away because our faith has been heightened to receive. Doubt and unbelief breeds stagnation and religion that keep the believer from experiencing Christ’s Kingdom. Grow strong in all the gifts and ask for more. He has plenty in heaven to give.