When we read, hear, or see something, we have a choice, a free-will, to decide if that information is to be processed and taken within the mind to become a part of the individual or discarded. For example; if a person views a famous painting, do they truly grasp the fullness of what the artist was experiencing when the painting was created? Do they form an opinion of liking or disliking based on what they see without knowing the history of why the artist painted the picture? Or does the viewer simply walk away and several hours later have no recollection that they even saw the painting?
When a person writes, draws or paints a picture, creates a song, creates an art project, etc., these are expressions of the individual's heart. They may not be able to explain why they wrote or created the way they have expressed themselves, and their art, music, writings may not be appealing to others. Never the less, it is an expression of what is going on within the individual's heart; an expression of an experience the creator is releasing. The judgments and choices of liking or agreeing with the creator as an outsider trying to grasp the fullness of the creation is irrelevant to the truth of what the heart of the creator is unveiling through the creation. Yet, from the outsider's position, they now have information to process, and with the processing emanate acceptance or rejection based on their free-will position.
Scripture is the written WORD; the thought of God given form. Mankind are vessels that God used to write the Scriptures as each person experienced a personal encounter with God's thoughts that cannot be questioned of what the vessels were sharing. Only by the Holy Spirit can we experience the depth and life of what is written. Only when the WORD circumcises our heart by personal experience can the truth of God's created identity in us be released to grasp HIS TRUTH. Only then does the "pot" stop questioning the Potter's creation, thus removing the issue of "free-will" to the Potter's hand to release the fullness of being created in His image; Christ in us.
Recently I was listening to a pastor teach on a familiar passage found in Paul's letter to Corinth in 2 Corinthians 4:17 which reads, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
The message was wonderful, practical, and relevant for releasing a word of encouragement to the congregation during a time that our world and society is dealing with daily issues of chaos and changes. Basically we were encouraged to persevere during the trials we each were encountering, for as bad as things may appear to be, it won't last long or be a heavy burden in comparison of the rewards we will receive when we enter into our eternal glory in heaven.
It was a good message, but my heart was heavy. I heard that cheerleader from a distance, "Hang in there. Jesus must be returning soon with all the things that are going on in the world."
These trials we encounter today; cancer, diabetes, sudden death of a child, financial wipe out, bankruptcy, foreclosure, poverty, governmental chaos, relationship impurities, mental depressions, etc. etc., etc...but hang in there for these things we are going through are no big deal, and "light" in comparison to our rewards in heaven.
The intent was to bring hope, but instead, the heaviness of the burdens and afflictions became heavier.
My thoughts turned inward to hear my Father's voice. "Father...why is it difficult to see joy of receiving heavenly rewards in the midst of these afflictions?"
The Holy Spirit took me to some Scriptures in the Old Testament during the time when Moses was passing the baton of leadership to Joshua to cross the Jordan and conquer the city of Jericho. There is much to consider in these writings that I will leave the reading of the Scriptures to you, but beginning in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 27, I read that Moses gave a declaration to the elders and the people. They were going to cross the Jordan River and come into the land the Lord God had promised them. However, in order for them to go into the promised land flowing with milk and honey, after they crossed the Jordan River, they had to first set up great stones (whole stones) with the commandments of God's law written upon the stones. These stones are to be a peace offering of rejoicing before the Lord.
From here, the Scriptures talk about blessings and curses the children of God would encounter. I have often heard preachers use Deuteronomy 27 and 28 in their sermons to justify a means of what Christians are suppose to being doing or not doing. The decrees found in these chapters are a wonderful foundation to teach children about sowing and reaping consequences, but without the first law of God in their heart to LOVE with their ALL, these chapters become a legalistic approach to our Christian life.
So I asked God, "Ok Father, why have you taken me to these passages?"
"There are many levels of My glory that are being unveiled in My vessels. The basic foundations of dealing with afflictions of this world are within the realm of sowing and reaping. Even though My people know Me through their personal relationship of knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior, the majority of them justify My WORD through the interpretation of the mortal law which functions by what a person sows they will reap; good and evil, right and wrong, doing this produces that, justification and judgment. Often the choices of "good" that are chosen by justification using the Scriptures are not of ME."
"There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"(Proverbs 14:12). "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts"(Proverbs 21:2).
I went back to the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." The words "light affliction" troubled me. How can an affliction be considered "light." A familiar response people often encounter when afflictions occur to justify a means of what someone is going through is, "Well, be thankful for what you have. It could be worse."
Is that supposed to make a person feel better when they just lost a child in an accident, or the bank is going to foreclose on their home? So do we place a guilt trip on the person because somehow they are having difficulty going through the afflictions in their life? They want to be angry at God instead of counting it all joy.
"God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all" (1 John 1:5). "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:17-18).
The word affliction is Strong's #2347. It is used in Matt. 24:21 referring to the great tribulation; in John 16:21 as the anguish of a woman in travail giving birth, and in James 1:27 when children are fatherless and widows have lost their husbands. Does a person in the midst of these afflictions really find comfort when they are told, "Well, be thankful for what you have. Things could be worse?"
God is LIGHT and the Father of light. He begat (Fathered) me by the word (the expression of His thought) of truth (Himself).
In Matthew 13:18-23, we have the parable Jesus shared to his disciples about the sower and seed. The seed is the WORD of God; the expression of the Father's thought being released to produce LIGHT.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, "The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
Ezekiel shares with us, "Ye mountains (trials of life) of Israel (children of God), hear (take into your heart) the word (seed of life) of the Lord GOD (your Father); Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places (the stones and thorns in our lives)" (Ezekiel 6:3).
Paul also told the church in Corinth, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15: 52).
So in a moment of time, God sends into our spirit "LET THERE BE LIGHT (Genesis 1)," and the thought of God becomes a word of God made flesh in our natural bodies, and dwells among the thoughts of our carnal man (John 1). Paul shares, "Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations (Light of God). Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan (my ego), to torment me" (2 Corinthians 12:6-7).
The Apostle John brings this full circle with the Book of Revelation; the unveiling of Christ in you. In the beginning... (Genesis 1:1); in the beginning... (John 1:1); The Revelation of Jesus Christ; Christ in you...and the Spirit and the bride say Come (Rev. 22:17). The word "come" means "to return back to the beginning."
So with all these thoughts, let us read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal"
God does not cause trials and tribulations to happen, but we must expect that when the Holy Spirit comes into our presence calling forth our spirit and drawing us to our Heavenly Father, trials and afflictions will be encountered. Judgment must begin within us with our own justification. After we have exhausted the sowing and reaping realm we naturally function in we will come at a crossroad. The words of our mouth and the meditations of our thoughts will have a free-will choice to create life or death, blessings or cursing.
"For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death).And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:53-55 AMP).
Your Heavenly Father says to you, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both you and your seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Jesus said, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive you the Holy Ghost: whose sins you remit (pardons and bless), they are remitted (forgiven and bless) unto them; and whose sins you retain (curse), they are retained (cursed)" (John 20:21-23). "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).
When "light afflictions" occur, count it all joy in the midst of the trials and tribulations (James 1:2) for your Heavenly Father loves you and is sending His presence to bring transformation into your life unveiling the life of Christ hidden within His creation in you. The power of His grace and mercy will raise up the resurrected life of Christ in you that releases the eternal power and glory of His presence from the Tree of LIFE into this world that cannot be found from the realm of sowing and reaping.