Judges 3:2, “He did this to TEACH WARFARE to generations of Israelites WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE” (NLT).
The Contemporary English Version says it like this: “And the Lord had another reason for letting these enemies stay. The Israelites NEEDED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT IN WAR, just as their ancestors had done. EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING” (CEV)
God brought the nation of Israel into the Promise Land of Canaan through Joshua. But after Joshua, THERE CAME AN ENTIRE GENERATION WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN FIGHTING BATTLES! How can a generation who knew nothing but to fight for victory, not train the next generation to do the same? However, this is the problem with today’s church, which is why so few know how to deal with spiritual warfare when it arises! They run and hide, and cry, and complain, and beg God to remove what they don’t like or don’t want to deal with. But ‘old church’ knew how to slay a devil, do devotion, wash clothes, pray, cook, clean, fast and help the kids with their homework, all before sundown! Yet, now, if this generation stub a toe they’re out of church for 6 months! If the doctor gives a diagnosis, they go picking out their casket! If someone talks about them, they’ll switch 12 churches in 12 months! If they get into an argument with their spouse they’re downloading divorce papers templates! But what they need to do is “…LEARN HOW TO FIGHT IN WAR, just as their ancestors had done. EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING”
TRAINING AND TESTING, IS ONE OF GOD’S IMPORTANT STRATEGIES THAT ENABLE HIS CHILDREN TO SUCCEED IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE!
The Bible says: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I HAVE TRIED AND CHOSEN YOU IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION” (Isaiah 48:10 AMP) People of God, like it or not, Your Affliction is Trying You, But It Is Also Refining You! The word ‘refine’ is defined as ‘to remove impurities or unwanted elements from; to make changes so as to improve.’ And that’s the purpose of God refining you, so He can get out of you everything that’s unlike Him, so He can improve you and make you a better representative of Him in the earth! Refining is for your good! It’s proof that God loves you far too much to leave you as is, especially when He sees so much more in you! Yes, it hurts, yes it’s painful, yes it feels unfair, yes everybody sees your refining process, yes it makes you cry, yes it wakes you up in the middle of the night to enter prayer, yes it’s uncomfortable, but it’s making you into a Warrior That Knows How to Fight the Battles of Life! Not the worrier who only knows how to weep and whine, scared of getting the slightest of battle bruises!
Now, we’re always quick to say that we’re “Chosen”, but God says I’ve “…CHOSEN You IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION”! Saints, Your Anointing Has Affliction Added To It, Not Subtracted! You Need Them Both! You Need Anointed Affliction if You are to Become the Warrior God CHOSE You to Be! Which means you have to learn how to handle affliction! Psalm 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I have been AFFLICTED, That I may LEARN Your statutes.” (AMP) However, Venting is not handling affliction, posting on social media is not handling affliction, having a self-pity party is not handling affliction, trying to get the whole church to wipe your crocodile tears is not handling affliction! The only way to handle affliction is to keep your sword sharp which is the Word of God! You need to learn how to fight using the weapon of the Word that’s freely at your disposal! Hebrews 4:12, ” For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (AMP) In other words, when in battle, every word out of your mouth needs to be the Word of God! Matthew 4:4, “But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” (AMP) That’s how God’s soldiers fight in His army! No Word, No Weapon, No Weapon, No Victory! If you are to successfully handle affliction you will need to learn how to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, using the Word of God that stops him in his tracks every time! 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,” (AMP) Affliction should always send you running for the Word of God, that’s your weapon to wield until you attain victory…
This Generation of the Church has become pitiful in Spiritual Warfare, and you know why? Because There’s a Whole Generation “…WHO HAS NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE” That’s why we cry over everything from a disobedient child to a troubled marriage, to an unexpected health issue or pink slip from the job! Because We Do Not Have Experience In Battle! And guess how GOD HIMSELF said this will be rectified? “…EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING”! So put your cute shoes away and lace up your boots, it’s time to go to battle!
TRIALS ARE FOR TRAINING YOU TO WIN VICTORIOUSLY! This is why the life of the believer is NOT WITHOUT TRIALS! Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (AMP); James 1:2-4, “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.” (AMP) 1 Peter 1:7, “THESE TRIALS WILL SHOW THAT YOUR FAITH IS GENUINE. It is being TESTED as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong THROUGH MANY TRIALS, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (NLT) Your Trials Show Whether Your Faith Is Genuine Or Just a Sorry Form of Godliness, That Lacks Power! 2 Timothy 3:5, “holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) Your Trials Are Your Greatest Teacher Because Your Faith Learns From Them! Every Time You Endure a Battle, Your Faith Gets Bruised…But Made Better! So Stop Having Temper Tantrums and Endure Your Trials! The Bible says, “THESE TRIALS…” ARE SENT SPECIFICALLY TO SEE IF OUR FAITH IS FULL OF POWER OR MERE EMPTY POWERLESS WORDS! Which is why the Bible informs us: “If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.” (Proverbs 24:10 MSG). Yes, that sounds harsh, but it’s honest! Truth is: We talk real big until small trials come to test our faith and then we find out that we only had words, with no meaning, conviction or power! The purpose of your trials is to test and prove your faith! Again, this is for your good and God’s glory, which should keep you from grumbling! Now, Mustard Seed Faith is Awesome! But you’ve been saved how long now? Shouldn’t your seed have grown and produced a harvest of faith by now? Listen, don’t try to make your faith sound big while you keep holding on to mustard seed faith, year after year! Your faith is to be nurtured so it can grow and experience greater depth and newer levels! Your affliction and trials are helping with that, so stop complaining and learn to fight!
The Bible further records, “They were left to TEST the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which He had given their forefathers through Moses” (Judges 3:4). So before you go crying and complaining about your trials and enemies, know that God Allowed Them Both to Teach and Train You (and the greatest lesson is Obedience)! Israel’s enemies were kept in place, BY GOD, to test their obedience and to mature them in it. And likewise, God is not removing every trial, hurt, pain, unfairness, enemy and doctors report just so you can be comfortable! No, He’s leaving them in place to teach you how to fight and win! He’s teaching you to trust what He said no matter what you see! He’s teaching you to follow Him even when the path, map and directions make absolutely no sense! He’s teaching you to rely solely on Him! Remember, this is all for the good of your maturity, growth and development! Don’t fight the process, fight through the process!
Now, Get It Together and Get Your Gear On! It’s Time for You to Learn to Do Battle!
People of God, like it or not: BUT GOD ALLOWS CIRCUMSTANCES TO DEVELOP AROUND OUR LIVES TO GIVE OUR FAITH OPPORTUNITY TO BE PROVEN! “Also through Him, we have obtained access BY FAITH into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, BUT WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR AFFLICTIONS, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces PROVEN character, and PROVEN character produces hope.” (Romans 5:2-4 HCSB) Did you catch all of that? “…WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR AFFLICTIONS…” WHY? Because Our Afflictions, “PRODUCE ENDURANCE, PROVEN CHARACTER AND HOPE…” In Other Words: Your Affliction Works to Your Advantage! How? The word ‘endurance’ is defined as ‘to suffer something painful and prolonged patiently; to tolerate; to remain in place even if something is hard.’ It’s Latin Origin ‘indurare’ literally means ‘to harden.’ That’s what God is doing on your behalf when He allows afflictions into your life. They are teaching and training you to suffer through something patiently, even if it’s painful and prolonged; it’s teaching and training you to tolerate the suffering with tough skin; it’s teaching and training you to remain in place no matter how hard the situation gets, because God has hardened you to circumstances, so you don’t break even when you’re bent out of shape! Your afflictions are proving that you have what it takes to endure the battle and win the victory. But it’s also working on your character. ‘Character’ is defined as, ‘the qualities distinctive of an individual.’ Its Old French ‘caractere’, from Greek ‘kharakter’ literally means ‘stamping tool’, which is to engrave, mark, brand or give a seal of approval on something. That’s what God does when He sends afflictions into your life to improve your character. He wants you to grow and develop His characteristics in your life in such a way that people can see His stamp of approval on your life. Your character is your brand. It tells people what you stand for and what you will not tolerate. Your afflictions are teaching and training you to maintain good character, integrity and a reputation that is above reproach and one that resembles God’s! In addition, afflictions groom your hope! ‘Hope’, is ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen.’ It’s directly attached to your faith and both grow when you learn how to expect God to deliver you, even when you see no evidence that He will (Daniel 3:16-18, ” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” AMP). Your afflictions train your hope and faith to believe God no matter how fierce the battle becomes; no matter what the enemy is saying, no matter what the enemy is doing; no matter how badly you’ve become bruised in battle; your hope and faith are teaching and training you to let nothing and no one distract you from victory! Your afflictions are working for your good because they are training you to endure the battle and win the victorious war!
TRUTH IS: IT’S ONLY WHEN WE’RE TESTED IN BATTLE THAT WE BECOME SKILLED WARRIORS!
Therefore, you might as well get ready because you can be confident God will allow trials to come your way through afflictions such as: a strained marriage, straying children, critical bosses, false assaults on your character, or a difficult friendship that requires unconditional love. HOWEVER, Regardless to how many afflictions come our way, GOD HAS PROMISED US, “MANY are the AFFLICTIONS of the righteous: BUT THE LORD DELIVERETH HIM OUT OF THEM ALL” (Psalm 34:19). So What Are You Crying and Complaining About? There Is NO Affliction That Is Permanent! They Are ALL Temporary! When You Pass Your Training Tests of Trials, “…THE LORD WILL DELIVER YOU OUT OF THEM ALL…”
“So why am I still suffering in affliction?” you ask…Simple: YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SUFFERING, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING! “…EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING” (CEV) So, Stop Sitting Idly By On the Sidelines Waiting For God to Have Pity and Snatch You Out of Your Affliction! Fight While You’re In It Until He Brings You Out of It! Romans 8:37 says, “Nay, IN ALL THESE THINGS we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (AMP) Listen, God Promised to Bring You OUT, But While You’re Still IN it, Know That You Are More Than a Conqueror, So Fight Like It!
You will discover if you have passed the test, or if you need more battles that will give you the opportunity to learn the art of spiritual warfare. BUT DON’T FEAR THE BATTLES! GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN YOU THE VICTORY, IF YOU CHOOSE COMPLETE DEPENDENCE AND OBEDIENCE ON HIM! Remember: His Promises Are Iron-Clad! And He Promised: “MANY are the AFFLICTIONS of the righteous: BUT THE LORD DELIVERETH HIM OUT OF THEM ALL” (Psalm 34:19). Just as school is not forever, neither is your class of trials and afflictions! But you will be left back to repeat if you don’t learn, grow and graduate!
“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. THIS IS A SPIRITUAL REFINING PROCESS, WITH GLORY JUST AROUND THE CORNER” (1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG) Did you catch that? “…GLORY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER”! And all you have to do is endure your refining process! The word ‘Process’ is defined as ‘a series of actions or steps towards achieving a particular end.’ And your ‘particular end’ is, “…GLORY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER”! So Don’t You Dare Give Up, Give Out or Give In! Keep Going! Glory Is Waiting Just Around the Corner!
PEOPLE OF GOD: DON’T BE DISCOURAGED IN BATTLES, GOD IS USING THEM TO DEVELOP YOU INTO A GREAT WARRIOR, SKILLED IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE! NO LONGER A GENERATION WHO HAS NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE! BUT NOW A GENERATION THAT MAKES THE DEVIL CRINGE EVERY MORNING WHEN YOUR FEET HIT THE FLOOR TO REMIND HIM, YOU’RE DRESSED IN THE WHOLE/FULL ARMOR OF GOD, AND YOU’RE READY FOR ANOTHER FIGHT! “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but MIGHTY through God to the pulling down of strong holds;” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Cheer up and gear up, because your afflictions are training you to pull down strong holds!
Judges 3:2, “He did this to TEACH warfare to generations of Israelites WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN BATTLE” (NLT). Your afflictions, trials, refining, and fights are all for the sole purpose of teaching and training you for battle! They are skills being added to your spiritual resume, removing ‘no experience’ and instead having ‘a wealth of knowledge in warfare’ added. And just like a resume in the natural realm so it is in the spiritual realm, the more experience you have the greater the opportunities for employment. The more you grow in learning how to handle warfare the more opportunities God will give to you His soldier, because He knows, from experience, you will not retreat but you will return with the spoils of the enemy! Learn what God is trying to teach you and train you, so He can trust you in battle!
“And the Lord had another reason for letting these enemies stay. The Israelites NEEDED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT IN WAR, just as their ancestors had done. EACH NEW GENERATION WOULD HAVE TO LEARN BY FIGHTING” (CEV) Did you catch that? “…The Israelites NEEDED to learn by fighting.” The word ‘Need’ is defined as ‘something that is required because it is essential or very important.’ And what is one of our Requirements as God’s servants, stewards and soldiers? 1 Corinthians 4:2, “In this case, moreover, it is REQUIRED [as essential and demanded] of stewards that one be found faithful and trustworthy.” (AMP) And how is God going to prove you as faithful and trustworthy if He can never use trials and afflictions to test you? Listen, I get it, this is not an easy process, refining never is. After all, how often do you find a process that involves fire to be a pleasant experience? So, yes, this is going to burn, and be painful and hard, but the warrior that you will grow and develop into will be worth it all! You will have proven faithful and trustworthy to be used by God, and isn’t that the point? To be positioned to be used by God for purpose, on purpose? Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, READY TO BE USED] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (AMP)
Well, if that is so, here is your FAITH DECREE: I decree today that I will no longer stumble over my struggles, cry over my crisis, agonize over my afflictions, retreat from my refining process, or have a tantrum over my trials. There is no test given to me, that my God hasn’t already provided the answers to pass. This time, when my Faith comes out of the Furnace it will be on Fire instead of in Ashes! In Jesus Name I Decree it to be so. Thank God, Amen. So It Is and So Shall It Be!
Remember: Trials Turn What You’ve Learned, Into What You Live! So come on soldiers, let’s learn well, train well, fight well and win well!
“All trials are not the reason to give up but a challenge to improve ourselves. Our pain is not an excuse to back out but an inspiration to move on.” (Author Unknown)
“Life will beat you up a lot, so be proud of each and every trial you came through. All your scars from those trials are medals of bravery for not giving up.” (Author Unknown)
“God places obstacles along your journey to prepare you for the blessings that await you at the finish line.” (Author Unknown)
“Trials in life are not meant to make us fail, but to see how far we can fly.” (Author Unknown)
“Don’t let your trials blow you down, let them lift you up.” (Woodrow Kroll)
“Before the fruits of prosperity can come, the storms of life need to first bring the required rains of testing, which mixes with the seeds of wisdom to produce a mature harvest.” (Lincoln Patz)
“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
“From dark clouds we get precious water. From dark mines we get valuable jewels. And from our darkest trials come our best blessings from God.” (Author Unknown)
“Be thankful for your trials. If you’re being tested, you’re being perfected. Which means you have a divine purpose and reason to rejoice.” (Author Unknown)
“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.” (Charles Spurgeon)
“Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust His skill and thank Him for His prescription.” (Isaac Newton)
“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” (Mary Tyler Moore)
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” (Oscar Wilde)
“Life’s trials are not easy. But in God’s Will, each has a purpose.” (Warren Wiersbe)
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny.” (C.S. Lewis)
“While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with sure hope of greater ones to allow if you are faithful.” (Ezra Taft Benson)
“Usually your biggest trials come right before your biggest breakthroughs. Keep pushing on!” (Author Unknown)
“Faith upholds a Christian under all trials.” (John Newton)
“You wouldn’t be who you are without all of the difficult times. Be Thankful, even during the trials.” (Joel Osteen)
“Trials are the soil in which faith flourishes.” (T.B. Joshua)
“Trials do for the Christian what Storms do for Trees. They give us stronger roots and ground us.” (Author Unknown)
“Sometimes Trials are God’s way of taking our hands off of things that aren’t secure and putting them on the only thing that is…HIMSELF.” (Author Unknown)
“Fiery Trials make Golden Christians.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)
“Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes because we need them.” (John Newton)
“I never had a Trial I wanted to have, but I never had a Trial I wasn’t glad I had.” (Jack Hyles)
“God speaks through Trials…Listen.” (Elissa Gabrielle)
“There are some of your graces which would never be discovered if it were not for your Trials.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
Psalm 144:1, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my great strength, Who TRAINS my hands for war And my fingers for battle;” (AMP)
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