There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it—I Corinthians 10:13 KJV
He did this for Israel of old. As we read the story of His dealings with them, we have instance after instance of His wonderful intervention when they were at their wits' end, and the God who sustained His people in the wilderness, fed them on manna from heaven and water from the smitten rock, and drove out their enemies from the land of Canaan, is living still. In the measure in which we learn to depend on Him, to count on Him, we too shall find deliverance in the hour of difficulty and trial.—H.A. Ironside, addresses on The First Epistle to the Corinthians (1938)
Many of us are walking through deep and dark valleys that are filled with trials and tests. In the closing days of the past year, we learned of a variety of major tests that some of you are now passing through. Some are dealing with the grief that comes from the death of a loved one. Some are dealing with personal chronic health problems or with the debilitating health problems of loved ones. Some are continuing to deal with severe economic problems, marriage problems, children problems, parental problems, old age problems, and work problems. Many have friends and loved ones in harms way in Afghanistan or perhaps in one of the many other places where our armed forces are scattered around the world. some have friends and loved ones in Military or VA Hospitals recovering from war wounds.
Each one of us must face and deal with these types of trials and tests in the battlefield of our own soul. We may or may not have other believers nearby to give us encouragement and to help lighten the load; but no one but God can enter into our soul and truly give us peace (cf. Phil. 4:7; John 14:27). We are all soldiers in the Christ's Royal Army (cf. II Tim. 2:3,4). We are under orders to become trained combat warriors in the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict (cf. Eph. 6:10-18). The father indwells and therefore is living within our human spirit (cf. Eph. 4:6). The Son is also indwelling and living in our human spirit (Col. 1:27). The Holy Spirit is indwelling and living not only in our human spirit but also in our body (cf. John 7:39; Rom. 5:5; 8:9; I Cor. 2:12; 3:16; 6:19; Gal. 4:6; I John 3:24). The battlefield for spiritual warfare is the human soul (cf. Rom. 8:5-13). We are either filled with the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18) and therefore doing the directive will of the Lord (cf. Eph. 5:17) or we are carnal (cf. I Cor. 3:1-3) and under the control of our nature of corruption (i.e. old sin nature, flesh, old creature —eph. 4:17-29). The very best of a believer's carnal works are unfit for the Father's service and must be rejected by God (cf. Isa. 64:6 with Rom. 8:8).
But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus—Philippians 4:19 KJV
The Father has made provision for us to win the battle of the soul by following Christ's example (cf. Heb. 12:2 with 5:7-9). When the Father promised to supply
all your need, He did not limit it to just our spiritual needs or just our material needs but promised to supply all our needs. Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us (cf. Heb. 13:5). When we allow Christ to be our point man, then He will lead us through the dark valley; and even if it be the
valley of the shadow of death we have nothing to fear (cf. Ps. 23:4).
We do not mean to imply that the stress and pressure of personal physical suffering is an easy test to bear. Nor do we mean to imply that the psychological suffering that comes from grief at the death of a loved one is an easy test to bear. I have personally been tested in regard to the psychological pressure that comes from watching a loved one go through tremendous physical health tests, when there was nothing I could do to ease the pain and suffering. It is easier to bear pain than to watch a loved one have to bear the pain. Many times we have witnessed believers stand back and throw Bible verses and clichés at a suffering believer without any real understanding of the tremendous trial through which this person is passing. Job's greatest test was not the loss of his great wealth or even the death of his children because he passed these tests (cf. Job 1:14-22). It was not even all the pain and suffering that came with the loss of his physical health (cf. Job 2:7-10). It was the people tests (cf. Job 2:11-13) of having to deal with the false accusations and the self-righteous sermons that were preached to him by Eliphaz. (cf. Job 4:1-5:27; 15:1-35; 22:1-30), Bildad (cf. Job 8:1-22; 18:1-21; 25:1-6) and Zophar (cf. 11:1-20; 20:1-29). These men distorted grace and promoted a toxic-faith which maligned the integrity of God!
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another—I John 4:11 KJV
Beloved, if God so loved us &c As to send His Son to be a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, and to provide eternal life for us through His sufferings and death; the apostle uses the same language his Lord and Master did, John iii.16; we ought also to love one another; for those who are the object of God's love ought to be the objects of ours; and if God has loved our fellow Christians and brethren to such a degree as to send His Son to die for them, we ought to love them too: and if we are interested in the same love, the obligation is still greater; and if God loved them with so great a love, when they did not love Him, then surely we ought to love them now they are become the friends of God, and ours also; as God loved them freely, and when unlovely, and us-likewise in the same manner, and under the same circumstances, then we ought to love, and continue to love the saints, though there may be something in their temper and conduct disagreeable; God is to be imitated in His love; and His love to us, which is unmerited and matchless, should influence and engage us to the love of the brethren, who have a far greater claim to our love than we can make to the love of God; and which indeed is none at all, but what He is pleased to give us.—John Gill, Exposition of the New Testament Vol. 6 (1852)
Long ago Pastor John Doane wrote,
No man is an island, apart from himself, each man is a part of the way. The reality is that each one of us not only must deal with our own trials and tests; but we have a portion in the trials and tests of others. We are commanded to be on the alert for believers who need help and pray for them (cf. Eph. 6:18). We are to be prepared to pick up their ruck sack and carry their burdens for them, while they stabilize their life by making a spiritual recovery (cf. Gal. 6:1,2).
However, our love for our fellow believers must come as a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:22) and not as human maudlin emotional sentimentality which flows forth from our nature of corruption. Human good actions based upon fleshly love do not have any spiritual life value (cf. Rom. 8:8; Isa. 64:6). The filling of the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18) is based upon confession of all known personal sins (cf. I John 1:9). It produces fellowship with the Father and the Son (cf. I John 1:3b-8) and makes possible fellowship with other believers (cf. I John 1:3a). A Spirit filled believer has forgiven all other believers of all of their sins, wrongs, faults, and failures (cf. I John 4:30-32); and therefore become an imitator of God the Father (cf. Eph. 5:1). Our love for God and for our fellow believers means that we
walk in love and are prepared to make sacrifices to help our fellow believers (cf. Eph. 5:2). However, this does not mean that we accuse or excuse them for their sins (cf. Rom. 2:15). Judgment belongs to Christ (cf. John 5:22); and we are commanded not to judge our fellow believers (cf. Matt. 7:1-6). Christ made it clear that only a sinless perfect person has the right to judge for the purpose of condemning another believer (cf. John 8:7). When we observe a backslidden believer, we need to be concerned about their spiritual recovery.
The real issue in assisting a believer is for them to make a spiritual recovery. To help a believer, who is under fire in the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict, is to make the Word of God (i.e. Bible Doctrine) the issue. As believers, we are commanded to live by faith (cf. Rom. 1:17; Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38) and the object of that faith is the Word of God (cf. Rom. 10:17) and the person of God the Father (cf. Heb. 11:6a). we are to trust in the Father's integrity (cf. Heb. 11:6b) and through the rejection of all human viewpoint solutions allow God to guide us (cf. Phil. 3:3,4). This allows us to be occupied with the person of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 12:2 with Phil. 1:21).
And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these; so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.—Exodus 14:19-22
A sudden change which occurred to prevent battle is here described; for the angel, who used to go before the Israelites to shew the way , turned to the other side, that He might be interposed between the two camps; and this, in two respects, because the pillar of fire shown upon the Israelites to dissipate the darkness of the night, while thick darkness held the Egyptians as it were in captivity, so that they were unable to proceed further. Thus did God prevent them from advancing, and also held out a torch for His people all night to light them on the way. He, who has been called—John Calvin, Commentaries on the four Last Books of Moses (1852 Ed.)Jehovahhitherto, is now designated by Mosesthe Angel;not only because the angels who represent God often borrow His name, but because this Leader of His people was God's only-begotten Son, who afterwards was manifested in the flesh, as I have shown upon the authority of Paul (I Cor. x.4.) It may be remarked, also, that He is said to have moved here and there, as He shewed some token of His power and assistance. Most clearly, too does it appear, that the glory of God, while it enlightens the faithful, overshadows the unbelievers, on the other hand, with darkness. No wonder, then, if now-a-days the brightness of the Gospel should blind the reprobate. But we should ask of God to make us able to behold His glory.
No matter what trials and tests we are facing in life because we are soldiers in Christ's Royal Army (cf. Tim. 2:3,4), we need to pause and bivouac in the midst of our enemies (cf. Ps. 46:10,11). We must understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Commander-in-Chief (cf. Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18). When we go into camp, then the Lord is free to walk among us (cf. Deut. 23:14). It is His responsibility to deliver us from our trials and tests (cf. Ps. 34:19). He has guaranteed that for our protection He has a wall of fire around us (cf. Job 1:10; 29:2-6; Ps. 34:7; Isa. 5:2). If the Father opens the wall to allow Satan to test us, He puts limitations on how far the Devil can go (cf. Job 1:12; 2:6). The Father has guaranteed our victorious deliverance if we depend on Him (cf. Job 5:19 with II Pet. 2:9). The Father desires for the Lord to deliver us so that God may be glorified (cf. Ps. 50:15). The Lord may deliver us from all trials including physical death (cf. Job 5:17-26 with Ps. 23; II Tim. 4:14-18) or He may utilize dying grace to deliver us out of the world system (II Tim. 4:6-8 with Acts 7:54-60).
The question many Christians often ask is,
How do you know that the Lord is still delivering believers in the midst of our current trials and tests? The answer is simple,
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.— Hebrews 13:8. The problem is that we fail to realize that the Father's thoughts and His actions are far superior to the human thoughts and actions (cf. Isa. 55:7-11). The Father is not operating on a temporal scale of values but on an eternal scale of values. He knows every event that will occur in creation history from the end to the beginning (cf. Isa. 47:9, 10). He has not abrogated His heavenly throne; and therefore He remains sovereign over all creation (cf. Ps. 103:19; 47:2). His plan will not fail (cf. Ps. 33:10,11).
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;—Ephesians 5:17,18 (KJV)
Every believer is a soldier in Christ's royal army (cf. II Tim. 2:3,4). As a soldier, it is our duty to be found faithful. This means that we obey Christ's military commands (cf. John 14:21, 23; 15:10). However, He commands us to obey Him only when we love Him (cf. John 14:15). Since pure love is a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:22), then we can only love Christ when we are filled with the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18). Jesus came to do the will of the Father (cf. Heb. 10:5) and therefore His work is in agreement with the Father's work (cf. John 5:17; 9:4). Therefore, when we love Christ and obey His commands, we also love the Father and are keeping His commands (cf. I John 5:3). An obedient soldier is a good soldier! The Father's commands are the Father's revealed will. We are all responsible to learn and obey them (cf. Deut. 29:29). In the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict, we are to live in obedience to the Word of God (cf. Matt. 4:4; Lu. 4:4). The wise believer is the one who understands the will of the Lord and this means that he also understands the will of the Father (cf. Eph. 5:17). Therefore, the honorable soldier is the one who is living in the directive will of the Father and therefore obeying the Lord Jesus Christ's mandates.
The Father's directive will consists of three categories:
The Viewpoint will and the Operational will is the same for all believers. the Geographical Will is not the same for all believers. The Viewpoint will of the Father is what He wants every believer to think and the attitude behind our thinking. He wants us to think from divine viewpoint, which means for us to think in accordance with the Word of God (i.e. Bible Doctrine —Matt. 4:4; Lu. 4:4; Duet. 29:29) and to have the same attitude as Christ toward every aspect of life (cf. Phil. 2:5). Divine viewpoint is never the same as human viewpoint (cf. Isa. 55:7-9; Prov. 23:7; II Cor. 10:5). The operational will of the Father consists of everything that the Father wants us to do; as we live the Christian life in the temporal state. At the moment of salvation, we were all entered into union with Christ (cf. I Cor. 12:12, 13) and received a complete salvation grace blessings package (cf. Eph. 1:3). The Father is wise and therefore everything He wants us to do is for our own benefit. Salvation placed us in Christ and this opened the door for the Father to conform us to the image of His Son (cf. Rom. 8:29). When we are living in accord with the operational will of the Father and utilizing His viewpoint will then all things are working together to produce divine good (cf. Rom. 8:28) and are a part of our eternal glorification (cf. Rom. 8:30). The geographical will of the Father is where He wants each one of us to be at all times. The geographical will is never the same at all times for all believers because it includes where we live, where we work, and where we attend church. The more Bible doctrine we study, understand, believe by faith, and categorize the more we will understand the directive will of the Father.
There is nothing more important in war which is of greater importance than obedience.—General Karl Von Clausewitz, On War (1832)
The duty of obedience is not merely military but moral. It is not an arbitrary rule, but one essential and fundamental; the expression of a principle without which military organization would go to pieces, and military success be impossible.—Rear Admiral Alfred T. Mahan, Retrospect and Prospect (1902)
The soldier who is functioning in the operational will of the Father will make the daily study of the Word of God a primary goal in his life (cf. Prov. 8:32-36); so that He can be a soldier who receives the Father's approval (II Tim. 2:15). He will locate a local assembly that is committed to the teaching of the Word of God (cf. Acts 2:42a). He will study under a pastor who is fulfilling his duty to teach Bible Doctrine; so that members of his congregation will attain spiritual maturity (cf. Eph. 4:11D-16). He will objectively study under his pastor and also read and search the Scripture to fully confirm the truth of Bible Doctrine within his soul (cf. Acts 17:11).
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of the life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.—II Timothy 2:3,4 KJV
A soldier ought to fear nothing but God and dishonor.—English Proverb
The two parts of a soldier are Valor and Suffering—Duke of Albermarle (1608-1670)
Every truly good thing that we receive in this world is a grace gift from the Father (cf. Jam. 4:17) and the Father wants us to enjoy them and thank Him for them (cf. I Thess. 5:16-18). However, when a soldier is operating behind the enemy lines in a combat zone, he must be prepared for hardships and suffering. Jesus suffered during His life in the material body and this suffering was designed by the Father for His spiritual benefit (cf. Heb 5:7-9). A soldier should not expect to be treated better than his Commander was treated (cf. John 13:16; 15:20).
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—II Corinthians 12:7-9 KJV
The Christian Warrior is a believer who has endured hardships in the Christian life and through the filling of the Spirit and application of Bible Doctrine won tactical victories in the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict (cf. II Tim. 4:6-8). He has not only fulfilled his personal mission; but along he way he helped some of his fellow soldiers escape from Satan's prisoner of war camp (cf. Gal. 6:1-5).