Suffering With Christ

It was exciting to consider the fact that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, but Paul had more to say about our life here on earth.  He wrote:
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17 NKJV).
Last week I quoted only a part of this passage to emphasize our inheritance in Christ.   This week I quoted the whole passage to show that we also face conflict in this world.  We are called to share in the sufferings of Christ.   Why is this?  It is because we live in a world whose god is the devil.  The Apostle Paul wrote:
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds THE GOD OF THIS AGE has blinded” (see 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV, emphasis mine).
The devil is the god of this age, or as some translations read, “the god of this world.”  The reason we have conflict and suffering in this world is because the devil has now become your adversary.  He is against everything that God stands for, and, now that you are in Christ, he stands against you.  He is the source of all the trials and tribulations you face in this life.
It is wonderful to think of all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, as an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ.  On the other hand we must keep in mind that our adversary is always there to try to steal those blessings from us.  That is his nature!
In regard to the devil, Jesus said:
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).
What a contrast between what Christ has to offer us, and what the devil wants to do in our lives!  Christ has come to bless us abundantly, but the devil has come only to steal, kill and destroy.  He will try to steal every blessing that God has given you.  If he can, he will even try to kill you and to destroy your life.  He means serious business!
What should our response be to the conflict we face with our adversary the devil?  The Apostle Peter wrote:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV).
Whenever we get into some conflict, we cry out, “Why is this happening to me?”  Peter explained that it is because you have an adversary.  You are not the only one who is suffering this conflict, but so is all of your other brethren in Christ who are in the world.
What should you do when you find yourself in this position?  The answer is you need to resist the devil, and command him to stop in his schemes against you.  You have that authority in the name of Jesus!  You have to stand firm in your faith, when you resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
The Apostle James had this to say:
“Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NKJV).
Isn’t it wonderful to know that you can resist the devil, in the name of Jesus, and he will flee from you?  That is the authority you have in Christ.  If you stand firm against the devil, and do not give up, he will eventually flee from you.  He cannot steal God’s blessings from you, unless you let him.  Don’t let him steal what God has given you.  The victory belongs to you!
You are holy, dear saint!
Steve Smith
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]
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