Saints in Malabon, Philippines singing the latest culmination song of the FTTM, 2017 – “I Want to Follow Him”
Although Paul’s outer man was persecuted, cast down, and afflicted, he was not abandoned or destroyed (4:9). We should not think that a life of following the Lord is one of ease and comfort, nor should we think that as long as we love the Lord, we will always receive material blessings. Because we have God’s life, the world is an oven, a furnace, to burn us so that our vessels will be fit for His use. There is not one spiritual person whose biography portrays a life that was without any suffering from his environment. Such suffering is not only inevitable but also necessary. The world is a place of suffering. However, to the believers, suffering has a positive meaning. Some Gentiles might be spared from suffering, but for seekers of the Lord, suffering comes by the arrangement of the Holy Spirit for their discipline. For example, we might want to make much money, but the Holy Spirit prevents us from making money; we might want to be poor, but the Holy Spirit sends money our way. Do not think that being poor is a dealing but that being wealthy is not a dealing. Being wealthy can be a dealing.
Hence, on the one hand, our outward environment is in coordination with the divine life, but on the other hand, our outward environment is also a reflection of the divine life, showing the extent of our maturity. Having tears or complaints when we suffer is an indication that we are not yet mature. If we cannot tolerate being poor or being rich, we are not sufficiently mature. When we can bow our head and worship God in the face of suffering, poverty, or abundance, then we are maturing in life.
In order to pursue growth in life, we must know that Christ is our life, we must consecrate ourselves and love the Lord, we must fellowship with the Lord and be transformed into His image, and we must receive the discipline of the Holy Spirit in our environment. This is the way for the divine life to gradually reach maturity. (The Operation of God and the Anointing, Chapter 8)
“We are pressed on every side but not constricted; unable to find a way out but not utterly without a way out; Persecuted but not abandoned; cast down but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Cor.4:8-10