Nowhere has God promised that life on this planet, in this world, would be a rose garden; not to believers, not to
anyone. Much to the contrary, Jesus forthrightly declared, "In this world you will have tribulation" (Jn.
16:33). The Apostle Paul said, "Through MANY tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
Indeed, life in this present world is full of tribulations, troubles, trials, difficulties, dangers, and snares.
It has always been that way, but in these last days in which we live, the collective and individual experience we
call "life," is especially replete with such adversity. And, though this reality may be perplexing and even enigmatic
to many, it certainly is not something that has caught God unawares, because some two-thousand years ago the
Spirit of God predicted through the Apostle Paul: "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will
come" (2 Tim. 3:1).
Now before we go any further we must settle one thing. Make no mistake about it, believers are in no way
impervious to tribulations. No one who lives in this present world on planet Earth is impervious to
tribulation. It comes with the territory, as they say, and believers live in the same world that unbelievers live
in. In fact, the real truth, as troubling as it may be, is that believers may be the target of more adversity than
unbelievers. This was the essence of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the young minister Timothy, who had learned
greatly under the tutelage of Paul, not only from his extraordinary revelation knowledge, but also from his
exemplary life, which was replete with afflictions and persecutions:
But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions
and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I
endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! And indeed, ALL who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus
WILL BE persecuted. (2 Tim. 3:10-12)
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul declared that everyone who sincerely desires to live
godly in Christ Jesus in this world indeed "WILL BE" persecuted. Believers, the Born Again children of God,
are the only ones who are "in Christ Jesus." Paul said all believers "who desire to live godly" will be persecuted.
He didnít say they might be. He said they "will be" persecuted. It is not even required that a believer
be entirely perfected in godly living in order to be persecuted, necessarily, but just have the "desire" to live
godly in Christ Jesus. Not only are believers not shielded from adversity, but rather the more conformed into the
Image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29) and less conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2) a believer becomes, the MORE
persecution he will experience in this world through those who are not conformed into His Image, who walk
"according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2).
So, affliction and persecution, troubles and trials, tribulations and all manner of adversity are an
integral part of life in this world. But where "in the world," as the saying goes, do they come from? Are they just random,
non-orchestrated, coincidental occurrences? What or who is behind it?
Contrary to religious ideologies held and propagated by many religions of the world, including much of
traditional Christianity, which teach that God perpetrates evil upon the world and itís inhabitants, Holy Writ, i.e.,
Scripture, the Word of God, attributes authorship of all adversity to the "adversary," Satan: "Your adversary, THE DEVIL, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8).
Albeit, one quick caveat is warranted, which is that it would be totally unscriptural, on the
other hand, to purport that God cannot, has not, or does not impose various forms and degrees of temporal judgments and
disciplinary actions on individuals, groups, and even whole nations. God can, has, and does anything He pleases
— anything, it is important to note, in agreement with His Word — for He is truly Sovereign and truly God.
Nevertheless, pure adversity, perpetrated with the malevolent threefold purpose of but for to steal, kill, and
destroy (John 10:10) is only attributable to Satan; he is the exclusive perpetrator of it.
You see, when Adam committed high treason against God in the Garden of Eden, he handed over to the fallen
arch-angel who then became, Satan, the dominion and surrogate lordship of this world which God had originally
delegated unto the "Sons of men" (Adamís progeny) [Ps. 115:16]. Thereby, Satan became "the god of this world"
(2 Cor. 4:4), "the ruler of the world" (Jn. 14:30). By virtue of Manís fall into perdition, Satan now had rulership
over the elements and order of this world. The entire Creation became enslaved to the effects of his unrighteous
nature — corruption (Rom. 8:21). From that moment on even unto today, the entire creation has eagerly awaited
the manifestation of the redeemed Sons of God, true believers, who would resist, oppose, and arrest Satan and his
adverse works through the authority given them "over all the power of the enemy" (Lk. 10:19) by the Lord Jesus
Consequently, Satan has the power in the present age to inflict adversity upon all human beings, especially those
who do not resist him. He never ceases in his evil and adverse works, some of which, according to Scripture, are to:
steal, kill, destroy, deceive, harass, hinder, depress, oppress, possess, tempt, accuse, pervert, blind, captivate,
torment, terrorize, confuse, condemn, provoke, afflict, corrupt, and persecute.
Satan is our adversary, who is totally and completely AGAINST us, but God is FOR us.
David said, "This I know, that God is for me" (Ps. 56:9). If he didnít know anything else, he knew one thing
— that his God was for him, and not against him. If a believer does not know anything else, he needs to know
one thing for sure — God is for him, and not against him.
Satan authors adversity, but God authors good! God is forever trying to bring good into our lives. The Bible says,
"every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights" (Jas. 1:17).
In the verse preceding that verse, God specifically warns us not to be deceived concerning that fact. Yet, so many
people are deceived because they have bought the devilís lie that God is the one who is bringing all the bad
into peopleís lives. But that is only a vicious lie, under which he camouflages himself and his own destructive
So many people are blaming God for the terrible things the devil has been doing all along. They have been duped
into believing God has been bringing all the adversity and difficulties into their lives. They begin to blame God.
Yet, the Bible tells us explicitly that when we are experiencing a temptation, test, or trial, we should not say,
ĎI am being tempted by Godí; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone" (Jas. 1:13).
It is not God who is assailing our lives with evil and adversity. As Job was admonished by Elihu, "Far be it from God
to do wickedness, and from the Almighty do wrong....Surely God will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not
pervert justice" (Job 34:10‑12).
"God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all"(1 Jn. 1:5), which means there is absolutely no evil in
God. Therefore, it would be impossible for Him to use evil toward us. Since, as James said, "God cannot be tempted
by evil," it would be a gross perversion of His Divine Righteousness for Him to bring such things upon anyone else,
but rather, as the passage explicitly says, "He Himself does not tempt anyone."
Contrary to the pious-sounding teaching of some religious expositors, God in no wise intends for believers to
be cowering in trepidation and an "ostrich mentality," and be foolishly ignorant of the wicked and minutely planned
schemes of the devil. All such attitudes and actions would only give the enemy an overwhelming and decided advantage
over us. Rather, God explicitly warns against that: "in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for
we are not ignorant of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11). The word translated "schemes" here, and in the passage,
"Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:11),
actually connotes "strategic battle plans" in the original language. It speaks of military generals gathered around
a battlefield map, carefully plotting out strategic battle plans.
This is precisely what the Holy Spirit is revealing about our enemy, the devil — that he carefully contrives
strategic battle plans to launch against believers. His tactics are well conceived, and are by no means happenstance.
He has a strategic battle plan tailor‑made for each individual believer. He looks for chinks in the believerís
armor, which is precisely the reason it is so essential that every believer "put on the full armor of God, that you
may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."
Any battle-wise, battle-tested soldier will tell you that the most stupid and potentially fatal mistake a
soldier can make is to be uninformed concerning the "modus operandi" of the enemy. If you are informed concerning the
enemyís usual methods, then you have a distinct advantage over him, rather than vice-versa. One of the most vital and
extensive parts of a soldierís battle training is instruction on the means and methods of the enemy; in other words
— his strategic battle plans. Anyone who does not give attention to that block of instruction is not only
stupid, but more often than not will soon be dead.
Likewise, it is stupid and oftentimes deadly for a believer to be ignorant concerning the strategic battle
plans of his adversary, the devil. That only gives him a decided and unnecessary advantage. God does not intend for
believers to be uninformed or ignorant concerning Satanís schemes and devices. Rather, He wants us to be informed
concerning them, in order that we "may be able to stand firm against" them.
The next most essential element of a soldierís battle training is instruction on his own weapon. He must become
thoroughly familiarized with every aspect of proper usage and maintenance of that weapon. His survival depends on it.
He must learn how to become a skilled marksman with his weapon, and how to insure that it continuously remains in
proper working order.
Similarly, believers are in an all-out, life or death, battle. It is a spiritual battle, fought
in the spiritual realm, against spiritual foes (Eph. 6:12). Thus, we must use spiritual weapons,
for fleshly weapons are utterly useless and powerless in this spiritual battle: "For the weapons of our warfare
are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" (2 Cor. 10:4).[end]
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