(week 41/13)

Mark 4:17 KJV: And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

From the scripture above, that affliction and persecution are not the same thing; what is the difference?

Persecution is rejection and physical attack from men to pressurize us to hinder our faith and TAKE US AWAY FROM GOD.

For example, Paul was persecuted at Philippi in Acts. 16:19-40 and at Ephesus in Acts. 19:23-41.

Affliction is bodily and circumstantial attacks orchestrated by Satan REMOTELY without any consciously willing human agent to try to physically kill or destroy us; it is ALLOWED BY GOD TO BREAK OUR PRIDE AND DRAW US CLOSER TO GOD. For example, Job was afflicted in Job. 1-42 and Paul was afflicted in 2 Cor. 12:7-10.

Psalms 119:67 NIV: Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Psalms 119:71 AMP: It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes.

Psalms 119:75 AMP: I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right and righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. [Heb. 12:10.]

God ALLOWS (but does not initiate: Satan is the one that does the persecution and affliction NOT GOD (Jn. 10:10, Lam. 3:33, Job. 37:23) persecution to test our loyalty and affliction to break our pride.

Job 13:15 KJV: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

2Corinhians 12:7-9 AMP: And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. [Job. 2:6.]  (8) Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;  (9) But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

Furthermore, when Satan attacks us through persecution or affliction, it gives God a legal basis to eternally punish Satan and all rebels: both demonic and human.

2Thessalonians 1:4-6 KJV: So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  (5) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:  (6) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

How then do we overcome persecution? By prayer and walking in love like Paul and Silas did in Philippi and got their jailor (persecutor) saved in Acts 16.23-34 fulfilling

Proverbs 16:7 KJV: When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

We overcome affliction: NOT BY ASKING GOD TO TAKE IT AWAY, but by humbling ourselves before God to receive more grace to pray to overcome the affliction. God’s grace DOES NOT TAKE AWAY THE AFFLICTION rather, it gives us greater measure of life to pray THROUGH THE AFFLICTION. In other words, affliction CANNOT BE AVOIDED but it can be overcome by becoming MORE HUMBLE and then praying: the humility MUST COME BEFORE THE PRAYING just like the Lord Jesus humbled and submitted to the will of God to go to the cross BEFORE the angel strengthened Him through prayer at the Gethsemane (Lk. 22:42-45). Observe that God preempted Paul from becoming exalted above measure by allowing affliction to come to make him more humble.

James 4:6-10 KJV: But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James 5:13 KJV: Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

James 5:10-11 KJV: Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.  (11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Job 42:10 KJV: And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.