James on Trial

Help Understanding Hardships

P4 – Purpose of Trials – Defeat Satan

Written By: Ray - Aug• 14•10

It is a given fact that Satan (and his demon helpers) are in all-out battle for our souls.

1Pe 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The Scripture that we based this series upon (2Cor 1 & 2) deals with this problem. The verse at 2Co 2:11 speaks about the “schemes” that Satan has hatched in his attempts to defeat us. The verse suggests that when we are aware of what he is doing, he cannot outwit us.

So, how does the pain that I suffer relate to Satan & his schemes? Well, in 2Co 2:10 Paul says that he had “forgiven in the sight of Christ.” So,¬†forgiveness is critical in outwitting Satan. Why?

When someone does something to cause us pain or trouble, we have a choice – forgive them or not. For most of us, we do not even consider forgiving unless and until the “offender” admits their “sin” and asks our forgiveness.

However, they may not even realize that we have been offended — much less feel sorrow for whatever we consider their offense. That is the plan of Satan – to convince us to harbor unforgiveness for anyone whom we feel has offended us.

But failure to truly forgive causes problems for US – not the “offender.” That is how Satan wins. No doubt that is why the Bible tells us to go to the offender (rather than the other way around) and try to resolve the problem (Matt 18:15-18).

The alternative to forgiveness is bitterness. In Ruth 1:20, Naomi was returning to Israel and told the residents, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” The word Naomi means pleasant and she did not feel pleasant. She had lost her husband and both sons while she was away. Now, she considered the name Mara more appropriate for her situation. Mara means “bitter” and she was bitter – with the Almighty God. “The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:21).

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled;”

That is what happens when you harbor unforgiveness. You become bitter and bitterness causes trouble for you. Rather, we are to forgive “in the sight of Christ” (2Co 2:10).

What Naomi did not realize was that God had a plan and a purpose for the pain that she had suffered. God did not kill Naomi’s husband and sons. However, He did use that event to fulfill His purpose. After time, Naomi watched God arrange for her daughter-in-law (Ruth) to be married to Boaz and become the Great-Grandmother of King David (Ruth 4:12-22) who was in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). As a result of Naomi’s great loss, she became an ancestor of the Savior of the world!

God had a plan and purpose for Naomi’s pain. He had a plan and purpose for Paul’s pain (2Co 2:10,11). He also has a plan for YOUR pain. Paul said that he & the Corinthian Church (and everyone who suffers pain) must “forgive and comfort” (2Co 2:7) those who have sinned against us. Then we are to reaffirm our love for the offender (2Co 2:8).

When we affirm our love for those who offend us (rather than harbor unforgivenss and bitterness), we outwit Satan. That is when he looses – and we win (2Co 2:11)!!

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