Christian Naivete Causes Massive Suffering
Updated: Jun 12
Are Christian Equipped to Suffer
Yes, Christians are equipped to suffer or, at least, we should be. The title of this article may seem a bit confrontational, but in these evil days, “direct speak” is needed! When I began to Pastor, the more experienced church leaders rushed to warn me of the importance of “watching God’s people”. This admonition's underlying sentiment was sheep are dangerous and destructive.
Fast forward some years later and the real problem became evident: church leadership. Reading headlines of other posts on this subject, by Pastors of course, my commitment to speaking truth in this matter became more resolute. These men, and women, blame Christian suffering on such things as Satan, the world, persecution of faith, etc. However, none mentioned a more controllable cause of suffering – not being grounded enough in the Word of God (Jesus).
True is the text: "God’s people perish for lack of knowledge”. This “lack” begins with those who preach the Word and since they lack, how could their followers not? I do not apologize and have spoken these things to religious leadership directly. I mean, how can someone read the Word of God, claim to understand, and yet the church is in such a back-slidden condition?
Here are three (3) examples of consequences of being naive about the seriousness of this warfare:
1. Ananias and Sapphira's Deception (Acts 5:1-11): Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold a piece of property and kept back a portion of the proceeds. This wasn’t the crime - the crime was pretending to give the full amount to the church. Their deception was exposed by Peter, and both of fell dead, paying the price for their dishonesty. These early Christians were not equipped to deal with the consequences of their actions. Even today, these actions literally cost former Believers their lives.
2. The Rich Young Ruler: this man asked the Lord Jesus something that, apparently, and judging by his actions, he was not ready to hear the answer to. Naïve to the realty he would have to sell everything he owned to follow Christ, this wealthy young man went away sad.
3. Judas the Betrayer: Judas seemed to be naïve to the reality of what his betrayal would truly cost! It is interesting that only after betraying Jesus, did he say: “I have betrayed innocent blood”. A short time later, Judas killed himself.
In summary, ill-equipped Believers are always, without exception, naïve to the wiles of Satan. Too often, they become involved with evil of which they have no idea the depths of. Church leaders are not immune to this either.
Christians Suffer Because of Naïveté
Christians mostly suffer because of naïveté. I am sure you have read other articles proclaiming Believers suffer for the cause of Christ. Some even remind us the Bible said "the world hated Jesus, so they would hate us as well". While this is true, there is another form of suffering much less noble. Based on my experience, most Christian suffering is both un-needed and un-necessary!
A few suffer because of their stand on righteousness. This is God-ordained and not induced because of stupidity. However, there is another which is totally unnecessary. Unneeded suffering occurs because so many, inclusive of me, commit evil.
I once made the statement: “Jesus assaulted people”. A certain layperson took much issue with this claiming how loving Jesus is. As he described it: “my Jesus would never do that”. I explained the scene in scripture where Jesus picked up a leather whip and drove moneychangers from the temple.
To try and broker more understanding, I brought it into a 21st-century context. I offered: “if I did the same thing as Jesus, I would be charged with destruction of property, felonious assault, as well as a plethora of other crimes”. Although he did not dispute this, he still would not concede that Jesus was aggressive. This is the naivete which leads to unnecessary suffering!
Christians have been deceived into accepting a form of naive, sheep like victimhood as a mandate for following Jesus. We have all heard: "Christians must turn the other cheek". Yes, true, but Jesus did not always do so and became confrontational. As a disciple, meaning "imitator", why then shouldn't I follow this example just as steadfastly as "cheek turning". Victimhood is not a strategic imperative which should always be followed.
Here are three (3) reasons Christians are naïve, choosing to needlessly suffer:
1. Church Leaders tell them so: Misused are these Words from Jesus: “do not judge others or you will be judged”. I encourage Bible students to read the entire narrative to see just how much of a lie “not judging others” is! This is not what Jesus was saying rather that we should be morally in a position to do so (righteously). Yet church leaders teach the opposite, Christians believe them, and so accept unnecessary victimhood of abusers. You remember: "we have to turn the other cheek like Jesus". BAH HUMBUG! An obedient spiritual life equips us to righteously judge both others and ourselves. If you refrain from judging another in spirit and truth, you are not pleasing God having become disobedient.
2. Christians associate ‘suffering’ with ‘righteous suffering’: a person who is fired from a job for resisting satanic policies righteously suffers. Another, at the same company, fired for trying to force our faith on other employees un-righteously suffers. There is nowhere in scripture teaching “forced conversion” or “relentless pestering”.
3. Lack of biblical comprehension: this is the chief cause of naïve and needless suffering. God’s people believe what is taught, no matter how unbiblical, if the Preacher doing so claims “expertise”. This is far from the biblical model! I hate to think of the needless billions in Hell, right now, having put faith in an ignorant teacher rather than the Holy Spirit.
In summary, unappreciative Christians suffer because of naïvete with respect to the Word of God. We live our lives being blinded by Satan, and then are further victimized by those claiming to represent Christ. Imagine escaping an abusive relationship by hiding in a "safe house" only to be victimized by those supposed protective advocates.
Christian Suffering Results from Greed
Christians also suffer because of greed. When we examine the first sin judgment, Lucifer, and the second, Adam and Eve, both can be assigned to greed. What God had given both they judged inadequate and disobeyed. As the great King Solomon wrote: “there is no new thing under the sun. That which was is that which will be”. Sometimes we sin because we simply have not reached a point where God's Word is fully revealed. However, greed is a willful sin.
The message of the prosperity gospel incorporates "greed" with God’s will for your life. Nevertheless, reprobate Christians who follow prosperity preachers are suffering and do not even recognize it. I mean, how awful is it to pray to God for something which will destroy you, He refuses, and you get angry for Him not destroying you?
Here are three (3) ways in which greedy Christians suffer:
1. They have declared Jesus Christ is not enough: this is a sin as old as time. As was offered prior, God’s way was not enough for Adam and Eve, and here we are today. In constantly reaching for more than the Lord desires, you have accused Him of being insufficient. The theology is not complicated. Either what He supplies is enough, or (He) is not.
2. They hate themselves, literally: greed is simple to slip into, and even more difficult to get away from. If I am made in the likeness and image of God, then one (1) must except that they are spiritual royalty. When we partake in greed, declaring God not enough, this is as good as "co-signing" doubt. There are two (2) words descriptive of this lifestyle: self-hate. You cannot love and hate Him (and yourself) at the same time.
3. Christians have declared Satan is more powerful than God: rightfully viewed, what sin boils down to is the “control of greed”? When we surrender to greed, we forsake the power of the Lord God. Therefore, having denied the Power of God, we welcome the power of the “evil one” to rule our lives.
In summary, much of Christian suffering results from greed having declared the Lord lacking. As shocking as this may sound, who can argue when viewed in light of the opulence of the American church?
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