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Solving Life's Problems

By: Scott Morton

It is safe to say all individuals in this life face problems of some nature. This is part of who we are, living in fleshly bodies on this earth waiting for the Day of Christ to occur. The issue which has caused difficulty for many people is knowing this is the case and figuring out how God would want us to effectively deal with these problems on a daily basis.

The reality is we are not protected from the things of this world. The Apostle Paul clearly teaches us this fact:

Philippians 1:29

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

2 Timothy 3:12

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4

That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. [4] For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

These three passages show how believers are not protected from having bad things happen to them, as members of the believing remnant of Israel were protected during their dispensation. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). This is what has been promised to us and has nothing to do with protecting us from the things of this world.

The Apostle Paul, who is our pattern, suffered many things while he was here ministering the information of the dispensation of the grace of God:

2 Corinthians 11:22-28

Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. [23] Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. [24] Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. [25] Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; [26] In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; [27] In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. [28] Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

This passage lays out a number of issues which the Apostle Paul faced during his early ministry. When reading through this, it is easy to see the difficulties he faced during this ministry. Most people would not be able to deal with just a small portion of this list without making the decision to give up. The Apostle Paul never gave up through this, as he understood the responsibility he had to make all men see the fellowship of the mystery (Ephesians 3:8).

It is also important to note that this epistle was written during the earlier part of his ministry. This was just the beginning of the problems he faced, as this would have continued on through the rest of his journeys as well.

It is difficult for many people to deal with the things which go on in life. The events of this life seem to have a larger magnitude than they should. This comes from the difficulty of being able to understand the idea of eternity. If we are to truly understand what the idea of eternal life means, we have to be able to define what eternal means. The following definition comes from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

ETER'NAL, adjective [Latin oeternus, composed of oevum and ternus, oeviternus, Varro. The origin of the last component part of the word is not obvious. It occurs in diuturnus, and seems to denote continuance.]

1. Without beginning or end of existence.

The eternal God is thy refuge. Deuteronomy 33:27.

2. Without beginning of existence.

To know whether there is any real being, whose duration has been eternal

3. Without end of existence or duration; everlasting; endless; immortal.

That they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:10.

What shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Matthew 19:16.

Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude 1:7.

4. Perpetual; ceaseless; continued without intermission.

And fires eternal in thy temple shine.

5. Unchangeable; existing at all times without change; as eternal truth.

These definitions show how the idea of eternal means there is no beginning and no end to whatever is being spoken of. That is something which is difficult to think about, which leads to man creating alternative uses of the word (along with ideas of forever) and have this be a period of time which has an end. This is an argument used, which breaks down when discussing it with many individuals. The limitation is often placed on the punishment aspects (Lake of Fire), but is not placed on the issue of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Since it is the same word which is translated for both of these, then individuals cannot change the meaning in various places to fit their theology.

This is why we have a hope about the problems which are occurring in our lives. The Apostle Paul tells us how long this is all going to last:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] 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.

In this passage, the Apostle Paul points out the length of time these things are going to be affecting us. All of the problems in our life are temporary (temporal), meaning they are only going to last for a period of time. The effect these are going to have is there is something which is going to be eternal, lasting without an end, which is going to be glorious for all of the members of the Body of Christ.

The Apostle Paul identifies how the individual who suffers is going to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ for all of eternity:

2 Timothy 2:11-13

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

The Apostle Paul equates two things for the members of the Body of Christ. The members are going to have to suffer, which is already been appointed for us to do, in order to experience the reigning with Him in heavenly places. This means our reward system is tied into the suffering we experience during our life here on the earth. As we go through the things which are going on, the way that we build the gold, silver, and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) in this aspect of our life will impact this ability to reign with Him.

The denying here is taken by many people to mean loss of salvation. We know this is not the case, as we have the seal of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 1:13-14) the moment we put our trust in the gospel for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). There is nothing which can take us out of this salvation, so there is no ability to be denied in this manner.

The true meaning of this denial is denying the ability to reign. At the Judgment Seat there will be individual who will not receive a reward, but are going to be saved as by fire. These are the individuals who are being denied something, as they are not going to have the ability to reign with Him. The glorious thing is they are still saved and are going to be living in the heavenly places for all of eternity.

Since this is the case, we need to have an idea of how it is we are to be dealing with the problems. God would not want us to be without a solution to these issues. The Apostle Paul states how God views this:

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; [4] Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [5] For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. [6] And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. [7] And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

It is clear from this passage that God is being identified as being the God of all comfort. This does not mean that He is only the God of some comfort and we need to find the rest of the comfort somewhere else. He is the one who is able to provide comfort in all situations that we find ourselves in.

The Apostle Paul uses a word here which we do not use very often. He speaks of consolation several times in this passage. The definition of this word is given below:

Consolation

1. Comfort; alleviation of misery, or distress of mind; refreshment of mind or spirits; a comparative degree of happiness in distress or misfortune, springing from any circumstance that abates the evil, or supports and strengthens the mind, as hope, joy, courage and the like.

Against such cruelties, with inward consolations recompensd.

We have great joy and consolation in thy love. Philemon 7.

2. That which comforts, or refreshes the spirits; the cause of comfort; as the consolation of Israel. Luke 2.

The whole issue is the comfort of the individual. God wants us to have comfort in all situations in our life. We struggle to do the good works we are appointed to (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:15) when we are struggling with some issues and need comfort. We are not able to fulfill the role of being an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) when we are dealing with the things of this world.

So the question does come up of how is it that we are to deal with these problems. The Word of God does give us some of this information.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] 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.

This is something which is hard to grasp at times, especially when someone is in the middle of a problem they are dealing with. The Word of God states the things we deal with in this world are really to be seen as only temporary things. This is due to the fact that these things are only affecting us while here on earth, which is only a short period of time compared to all of eternity. Even if it is a long-lasting problem which takes up the believer´┐Żs whole life, the 100 years or so is nothing compared with the time we will be with Him in the heavenly places.

The Apostle Paul is also emphasizing the fact of what the suffering is actually doing for the believer as well. It is doing something for us which has an impact on our eternal weight of glory. This goes back to the ability to reign with Him in the heavenly places. This suffering is the preparation the member of the Body of Christ is going through which will allow them to be able to reign with Him.

The issue for the believer is the focus is on the things which the Word of God is calling for a moment. We get ourselves stuck on the situation, don't see any way out of it, and don't see any good which is coming from the situation. This causes the believer to become depressed about what is going on and getting them to think there is no hope of being able to fix the situation.

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The Apostle Paul here speaks about what happens to the individual in relationship to the tribulations being faced. He mentions how there is supposed to be a glory in these things, which comes from the fact that we know these things are working to help us be able to reign with Him. Many people who are not saved think this thought process is wrong, as they do not think there is anything to glory in. the Apostle Paul, who stated he gloried in nothing but the cross (Galatians 6:14) can state this is a glory because of the things covered earlier, where the suffering is coming about because of our position as a member of the Body of Christ. Since this is the reason for our suffering, the Apostle Paul can glory in this as well.

Even those who are saved struggle with this thought process. They feel it is the wrong type of thought process for someone to think it is good to go through these things. This is part of the world's thought process that has carried over to the local assembly. God has specifically said there are reasons for us to go through problems. He identifies there is benefit to it:

2 Corinthians 1:4

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

It is clear a major benefit is the members of the Body of Christ are to be able to provide comfort to each other as we go through problems. This is part of the exhortation the Body of Christ is to provide for itself. We are able to help each other as we are going through these types of situations and provide the comfort which is needed for each individual.

This comfort is a reflection of the comfort which we have received from the Godhead. This comfort has come to us through the Word of God. As the Word has provided comfort to us, we are to use it to help provide comfort to individuals as well. This is done by sharing the passages of Scripture which have provided comfort to us with others so they will be able to have the same comfort which comes from the Word of God. This isn't always easy, as sometimes people feel they do not want to receive what the Word is saying.

There is a feeling sometimes people get of thinking God has abandoned them and this is why they are going through these things. This passage shows this is not the case:

Romans 8:34-39

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [36] As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. [37] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is nothing which can separate us from God. We are members of the Body of Christ and have the guarantee of being part of the Body (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Lord Jesus Christ is supposed to be living through us (Galatians 2:20). This should be the motivation to know that we have this love and that we are able to deal with any of these situations.



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