ARE YOU AFFLICTED?
by Tony Alamo
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” (Psa. 119:71). As a perfectly prescribed medicine is excellent for the renewal of health for the body, so also is the affliction for the prosperity of the soul.1 Affliction is necessary for spiritual health because by it God reveals to a man the evil that is in his heart, as well as the truth which sets him free from that evil (John 8:32).
God in His wisdom, justice, and sovereignty rules over the afflictions of all men, for sin has brought affliction into the world and “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Yet the sort of affliction David speaks of here and the good that came to him through it is only the experience of those who have God for their Father by a living union of faith in His Son Jesus Christ. God does not spare from all suffering those whom Christ has redeemed by His blood; rather, it pleases Him to save them out of their troubles, for it is said, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psa. 34:19).
Although it looks like a Christian’s troubles are even more than those of wicked men, the scriptures demonstrate that in God’s agenda, our suffering is not in vain (I Cor. 15:58). He commands our submission to the will of God and our endurance through our troubles: “Behold, happy is the man that God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” “Blessed is the man whom Thou chasteneth, O Lord, and teachest Him out of Thy Law;” “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Job 5:17, Psa. 94:12, James. 1:2-4).
The Bible was given to us to instruct our mind and enlighten our understanding, but God’s doctrine must be practiced in our lives as well as received by our intellect.2 It is a true statement that little likeness to the Lord Jesus Christ is ever attained in the life of a Christian without the means of suffering and affliction.3 The Apostle Paul, one of the holiest men who ever lived, declared his desires to be “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Phlp. 3:10). Such a view of suffering with and for Christ would be impossible apart from believing the testimony of God’s Word that “He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men” (Lam. 3:33).
Furthermore, if the one professing faith “be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers,” then he is an illegitimate child, not a true son of God the Father (Heb. 12:8). When the Christian is punished for his sins, it is not to cast him out of his sonship, but to teach him that “it is an evil thing and bitter” that he has forsaken the Lord his God (Jer. 2:19). When he feels condemned for his sins (as David did), it is to teach him. (“If we would judge ourselves [by the Word of God] we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Cor. 11:31-32).
What a great evil it is therefore, if it must be said of Christians in their afflictions, “For the people turneth not unto Him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 9:13)! Too often, they are like Israel of the Old Testament: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hos. 5:13).
Pastors, preachers, counselors, and friends, though sincere in their efforts, cannot comfort or cure an afflicted soul which refuses to go directly to Christ, who “ever liveth to make intercession” for those who come to God for mercy and grace (Heb. 7:25). With his eye upon Christ, the afflicted one needs to begin his prayer by obeying the command, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thes. 5:18). Though the trial may continue for a time, the Christian’s heart will become quiet and teachable in the confidence that “it is God which worketh in you both to will, and to do of His good pleasure” (Phlp. 2:13). Go to the Lord, say this prayer:
My Lord and my God, have mercy upon my soul, a sinner. 1 I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. 2 I believe that He died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. 3 I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit 4 and that He sits on the right hand of God at this moment, hearing my confession of sin and this prayer. 5 I open up the door of my heart and I invite You into my heart, Lord Jesus. 6 Wash all of my filthy sins away in the precious blood that You shed in my place on the cross at Calvary. 7 You will not turn me away, Lord Jesus, You will forgive my sins and save my soul. I know because Your Word, the Bible says so. 8 Your Word says that You will turn no one away, and that includes me. 9 Therefore, I know that You have heard me, and I know that You have answered me, and I know that I am saved. 10 And I thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving my soul, and I will show my thankfulness by doing as You command and sin no more. 11
You've just completed the first step in a series of five steps which are necessary to receive salvation. Your second step is to deny yourself and take up the cross daily for the purpose of mortifying yourself, that is, for putting to death your own will, your soulful self, and the world with all of its lusts. All these must be baptized into the death of Christ.
Step three is your resurrection from the satanic life of Adam unto the sinless life of Christ. Step four is your ascension into a position of authority to reign for God on earth, and the fifth step is to reign for God on earth to the end for the purpose of bringing about the kingdom of Heaven on earth. You must learn the Word of God, then submit yourself and do what the Word says, so that the Church and the world may see evidence of your submission to God's Word, His order, and His authority in and by you.
Praise the Lord. May God reward you abundantly.
Pastor Tony Alamo
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Are You Afflicted? footnotes:
1. Psa. 51:5, Rom. 3:10-12, 23 return
2. Matt. 26:63-64, 27:54, Luke 1:30-33, John 9:35-37, Rom. 1:3-4 return
3. Acts 4:12, 20:28, Rom. 3:25, I John 1:7, Rev. 5:9 return
4. Psa. 16:9-10, Matt. 28:5-7, Mark 16:9, 12, 14, John 2:19, 21, 10:17-18, 11:25, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 8:11, I Cor. 15:3-7 return
5. Luke 22:69, Acts 2:25-36, Heb. 10:12-13 return
6. I Cor. 3:16, Rev. 3:20 return
7. Eph. 2:13-22, Heb. 9:22, 13:12, 20-21, I John 1:7, Rev. 1:5, 7:14 return
8. Matt. 26:28, Acts 2:21, 4:12, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 return
9. Matt. 21:22, John 6:35, 37-40, Rom. 10:13 return
10. Heb. 11:6 return
11. John 5:14, 8:11, Rom. 6:4, I Cor. 15:10, Rev. 7:14, 22:14 return