Sunday, August 22, 2010
The God Of All Comfort
When you get right down to it, the spirituality Scripture describes - especially in the Book of Acts and Paul's epistles - is about reality, not religion.
Religion is basically political authoritarianism disguised as worship: Hoops to jump through and consequences for not doing so are assigned, perverse dogmas based on vanity & egotism that contradict one another as much as the text they are allegedly based on fabricated, and all to keep the high priests, gurus, imams or whatever the modern scribes and pharisees may call themselves empowered over the people. What God offers through His Word is a relationship between a loving heavenly Father and His children. The more we know by experience The Word, the more we know it's Author. The more we know the God of the Bible; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more the Believer is comforted, regardless of worldly circumstances! The greatest comfort in life is believing the Truth of the Word of Almighty God:
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort;
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."
- 2 Corinthians 1:3&4
We grow strong in The Word and our believing of it, and in the courses of life we come across others with whom we share the great Truths which have built and made us strong. As the Word becomes the basis by which a Believer thinks, chooses and acts, he is enabled to edify the Household of God by bringing new believers into same, and operating the manifestations of Holy Spirit.
"Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts (literally, spiritual matters or the spiritual), but rather that ye may prophesy.
For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him, howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries.
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort."
- 1 Corinthians 14:1-3
I hasten to add that one can read the entire context of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and never read anything where the Believer is encouraged to jump up and down, scream and shout, jump over pews, swing from the rafters, roll all over the floor &c. Empty-headed-emotionalism and its inherent foolishness are not part of operating the manifestations "decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40). When the manifestations of Holy Spirit are operated properly, it is a blessing and inspiration to the Body of believers as God brings their minds back to the proper focus on Spiritual Truth.
"But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said Daughter, be of good comfort; (a figure of speech that literally means set your thoughts in order/your mind at ease on this point;) thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."
- Matthew 9:22
The greatest healing reality in life is the Word of God. When we believe it, we're believing Him. It allows us to "be of good comfort" by setting our minds at ease with clarity and truth! Practical examples abound in the old testament, including the gospels, where Jesus Christ not only showed the grace and power of God through many infallible proofs, but told His disciples they would do the same and greater (John 14:12).
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime (before the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church of the body of Christ; the Household of God) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."
- Romans 15:4
There is much more in the Word for the edification of men and women than for their destruction. We often only get to hear the tearing-down parts from the pulpits of religion (man-made forms of worship) but God has proclaimed and set forth great resources and benefits of Spiritual Truth. It's only those who dare to believe them that get to see themselves as a living, working part of it.
"The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;"
- Isaiah 61:1&2
Not only are you important to God as a believer, God has labor of love for you to perform; the "greater works than these", the Great work of reconciling men and women unto Him, and it comes to pass as a natural part of getting into His Word for yourself, enthusiastically believing it, and seeing results in your own life. We are able to comfort others because we are comforted by Him.
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus will God bring with (raise like) him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Believing does not guarantee us a charmed life. It does equip us with the resources and ability to live above disappointments and issues. If we live long enough in this world, those we love are going to depart it. Instead of leaving one in a state of powerlessness, mourning and fear regarding those who "fall asleep" in or outside the Household, God's Word assures the Believer of Christ's return, and that because He conquered death, we have been made super-conquerors (Romans 8:37).
We may lose a match here and there in this world, but there's great comfort in knowing the greatest competition has already been won, and that victory over the adversary is sure, for in Christ, the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has already made certain and secure our redemption!
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
- Mark 16:17 & 18
Many times the question arises among Believers "how can I know for certain I'm 'on the right track'?" or doing the right thing. The true guide to discipleship is not WASP CULTure, majoring in the minors of some set of "do's" and "don't"s not addressed to our day and time nor the vast majority of what the world considers to be "Christian". The how-to of experiencing the patience and comfort of Scripture is in believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), continually believing and realizing God's Power and presence are in and with you in every situation (2 Corinthians 4:6 & 7) and daily seeking to manifest the greatness of His Power in accomplishing the "greater works than these" to help those who want it (John 14:12, 2 Timothy 1:6-8).
All comfort comes in believing, and believing is acting on the Word of God in the certainty His promises are true!