Basic Training for the Transition
Enduring hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ is possible because He is with us until the end of the age and the age cannot survive without our submission to the Heavenly vision and the will of God.
Credit: AC Studios
When I was in Basic Training for the military, our training instructor did not think we were very focused on learning to march as a unit. To teach us a lesson, he made us go to our barracks and change into our winter dress uniforms even though the mercury was nearly 120 degrees! An overweight trainee began to bleed from his nose and ears and fell to the pavement. The instructor got him to his feet and when he said he needed to go to the hospital, the instructor told him to march there at double-time. Our unit later learned that the young recruit had died en route.
Because my eyesight is “catastrophically handicapped,” I begin my day surfing the eleven Christian channels prayerfully to hear what spiritual daily bread I need to begin my day. Sandwiched between two of them is a secular station that is very pro-Islam. The particular program was about some Catholic nuns who were helping a middle-aged Muslim man who was depressed by a long string of unfortunate events that began in his childhood. When I first tuned in, the station was playing some song with lyrics that sounded Christian and began something like: “It has been so long…and my testing’s been so strong, that it is so plain to see…It’s not God that’s testing me!”
Those words were life to my spirit because I was close to fainting in my adversity (and I had just discovered that the worst of my problem was due to my failure to show up at the place which God had appointed for us to meet together). I told God I could not withstand any more testing without some spiritual R&R and He reminded me that, “He never allows us to be tested beyond what we are able to bear!” (1Corinthians 10:13) Thankfully God is merciful and unlike that training instructor His testing never imperils us but causes us to move to the next step in our transformation.
I have rarely met anyone who enjoys examinations and if you doubt that God gives us tests, you can read: Exodus 16:4 and 20:20; Deuteronomy 8:2 and 8:16; Judges 2:22 and 3:1-4; 2Chronicles 9:1; Psalms 26:2; Daniel 1:12 and Malachi 3:10. In all these scriptures the word in common is “prove,” and in every case, it means to test!
Here is also a real good hint for the thinking person: “It is not only given to us to be glorified (manifested) with Christ, but also to suffer with Him.” (Romans 8:17, 2Timothy 2:12, 1Peter 4:19, Revelation 2:10)
God never puts anyone He delights in on display as a manifestation of the sons of God until they are proven through suffering. They have to be tested, tried and true! Look at what God says in 1Peter 4:1-2, “Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God!”
By now you may be wondering why I chose to write about such a morbid subject, and that question will lead us right into Babylon! Read all about it in Revelation chapter 18. Some people think this Babylon is New York City, others say it is the ancient city rebuilt where Saddam began his re-creation and even others say it is the system infecting cultures around the world. No matter how you pigeon-hole it, there remains one thing about all Babylonians in Revelation 18:7 and 9. In both cases a reference to “living deliciously” is made and this implies a desire for luxurious living. Babylon not only avoids suffering, she says, “I will see no sorrow.” God says therefore she shall see her plagues come in one day: “death and mourning and famine” at the finale of that story. (Revelation 18: 20-21 and Rev. 19:1-6)
Most everyone knows that when the going gets tough the tough get going. It seems perhaps God’s will on earth will not happen through His people until Babylon and the desire to live luxuriously and see no sorrow is removed. I have spoken of all of this because contrary to what many teach God does not say we shall not find sorrow and suffering in this life but rather that in this world we shall have “tribulation.” Jesus went so far as to stress, “If they have hated me they will also hate my followers.”
If you are wondering why we must be willing to suffer it is not because God gets some sort of kick out of seeing His children endure great difficulty but it is because God considers our walking as Jesus walked and guarding and protecting all His creatures and the earth. To be worth any effort we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Some famous spokesperson for the environment said, “Once any creature becomes extinct it may never appear again until this earth passes and a new world comes into existence.” I do not know if we even have that guarantee. I do know that God is seeking those who will walk in the pattern of the last Adam, Jesus Christ and I know that if these days we are living in are not soon ended, no species will survive.
This final note is to those who call themselves Christians and teach that Noah built an ark to save repentant humanity from the flood and by it destroy the destroyers. And never once in their story telling mentioned that Noah built an ark not only for the salvation of the righteous, but to keep every species alive upon the face of the earth to replenish it. To have a mind to suffer like Christ in the flesh is the only way we will get through this time of transition and keep our minds upon the will of God, saving every species alive and saving the repentant humans. So long as we are unwilling to suffer and insist on living the luxurious life we are of little use to God’s direction, vision and intention.
Remember Paul as he prepared to go and witness his relationship with the risen Christ to those at Rome. The prophets with him bound him with a belt and warned him not to go there because he would be bound and imprisoned. Paul turned to them and begged them not to weep for him and break his heart because he was willing not only to be imprisoned in Rome for the truth’s sake but also to die there for the sake of the gospel. Paul knew the gospel. He called it “my gospel.” It included the manifestation of the son’s of God for the purpose of delivering every creature from the bondage of corruption that fills this world which is transitioning from the kingdom of darkness and lays in the Wicked One into the Kingdom of the Love and Light in God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ.