A careful search of the word of God will make us to understand that there are five sources of sufferings for a Christian.
1. It could be due to satanic activities: Job 2:7 confirms this, “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” Job’s problem therefore was as a result of satanic activities. The woman in Luke Chapter 13 that Jesus healed; the woman called the daughter of Abraham was bound up by the devil for 18 years. Jesus himself confirmed the fact. It is an established fact therefore that Job as well as the daughter of Abraham were both afflicted by Satan.
2. Ungodly men: 2 Timothy Chapter 4 verse 14 says, “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil; the Lord reward him according to his works”. It is certain therefore that a believer’s suffering could come from ungodly men like Alexander the coppersmith.
3. The world system: 2 Peter Chapter 2 verse 8 says, “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” The world system too could constitute a problem for the righteous men. They really harass the souls and spirits of believers everyday.
4. A believer’s suffering could come from man’s fallen nature: Roman Chapter 7 verses 14 and 15 say, “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would that do I not; but what I hate, that do I”. Man’s fallen nature without any doubt, could give him problems.
5. Carnal Christianity: Philippians Chapter I verses 15 and 16 say, “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of goodwill. The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. “2 Timothy Chapter 4 verse 10 says; “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica.”
It is important to locate the source of one’s problems. Remember the story of a farmer in Matthew, who planted wheat on his farmland, but from nowhere, tares started growing amidst it. The farmer knew straightaway that the enemy performed the wicked task. Whenever God plants good things in a place, the enemy or Satan is usually unhappy. It does not come as a surprise therefore that the enemy will make moves to destroy, pollute or choke them.
It is very tempting to blame everything that goes wrong on the devil. When things go wrong, people complain bitterly and say that it is the devil that pushed them to do it. The question is why did such people supply their backs for Satan to ride on? God does not at any point in time expect you to supply your back to the devil. He does not expect you to turn your back to the enemy and run. He expects you to wage war against him.
A long time ago in England, there was a cartoon in one of the major newspapers. It was the picture of a church and of the devil. The devil was standing outside the church, crying bitterly. Then somebody came to Mr. Devil to find out why he was crying bitterly. The devil responded tearfully that he was usually blamed for all the evil taking place in the church. The devil then narrated what happened at a christian naming ceremony. He the devil had afflicted the food to be served there, He said that a greedy brother who was supposed to have only one plate of food collected three rations. The brother became greatly afflicted by his own greediness, he had serious cholera. The devil said that the brother in question was responsible for the affliction that visited him.
The problem in our lives, in many instances are not always demonic in their source, no matter how we sometimes claim to be innocent. The blunt truth is that most people are the cause of their problems. Many of man’s problems will disappear if he can just remove selfishness from his life. He will also get freedom if he thinks first before acting. The selfishness of a man or a woman can land the whole of his or her family in trouble. A lot of problems would disappear from your life if selfishness is removed from your marriage.
Many people shut themselves off from blessings, they are concerned only about their own comfort. You must know this fact, that most of those that were blessed in the bible by God, had always blessed others first, both in cash and in kind. Have you ever thought of the fact that if Jesus was selfish, he would not have come to die for us. The bible says that one might even offer to die for a good man. But when a person decides to die for somebody who is evil, then there is need to think of the selflessness of that person. You and I are saved today because Jesus was not selfish. Selfish people often harm themselves. Although this is very difficult for many people to admit, many problems are of people’s own making and a lot of people have specialised in what is called “Blame shifting”. Try to accept the blame for your own wrong doing and stop putting the blame on someone else.
Many problems we bring on ourselves are as a result of our words and/or deeds. When you speak words carelessly in an angry way, those words could be missiles that have irrevocable result. The principle that the Bible highlighted in Galatians Chapter 6 verse 7, can never be defeated. It says that, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” You cannot push it aside. David sowed a seed of family destruction, took another man’s wife, and killed the man. David then reaped the harvest of family destruction from his son, Absalom.
If you must throw mud at others you would first of all have to stain your own hands. You must therefore not throw mud at people. It is just a simple law of repercussion. God Himself can also be the source of our problems. Therefore, not all problems are bad problems. God can design problems that will make you come closer to Him and also make you more prayerful. Naaman was a proud person who didn’t get his healing until he dumped his pride and moved closer to God.
God sometimes calls people fools, because they don’t know what they are supposed to know. And right now, even as you are reading this, do you know that you could be your own enemy? You may be fighting actively against yourself. But one thing is certain, malfunctioning in anybody’s life, is not God’s fault. People don’t like facing the truth. A lot of people have turned themselves to masquerades. They are the ones pursuing themselves. How long will you run away from yourself? When will you stand up and acknowledge the truth about yourself?
Acknowledging the truth about yourself is the first step in the school of spiritual maturity. For how long will you repeat the mistake of Adam? Adam did not point at himself, he said ’the wife thou gavest to me, she gave to me and I did eat.’ As far as you do not want to face the truth about yourself, you will give your enemies a hiding place in your life. The person then becomes a student in the dangerous school of self-deception, then you will be fighting against yourself.
Apart from the devil, a man has only one other enemy; that enemy is his own self. When self is at work, God’s work will cease, and man’s work will continue. The enemy or the devil knows that you are doing your own will and not God’s will. The devil will then move in and contaminate you. God’s work has ceased in many people’s lives. Anything you do for God that is not energised by His spirit is of little value. So the subject with the highest mark in God’s school, is deliverance from self.
A lot of people are in bondage to themselves. They are spoiling themselves and pampering their own lives. The subject with the highest mark in the devil’s school is self exaltation. Pride is exaltation of self. Every postponement of repentance is pride and is tantamount to wrestling against God. The senior prefect in the school of self-exaltation will rather die than to ask for forgiveness or to apologise. Such people are fighting actively against themselves. Failure to carry our self analysis, or coming to terms with yourself is dangerous. It may lead to fighting against yourself. The bible says ’examine yourself, whether you be in the faith or not.
You need to turn the searchlight of the Holy Spirit on yourself now. You need to ask yourself questions like, ’am I not proud?’ Do I not tell lies? Am I not impatient? Do I really like fasting and praying or am I doing it because other are doing it? Do I not love Jesus for the bread and butter that he supplies? Do I really love Jesus? Can I die for him? Am I serious with God when I am rich? Is it not when I am broke that I am serious with praying? Am I not lazy in prayers? Do I not keep malice? Do I have love? Do I like being told the truth about life, or do I avoid those who tell me the truth about my life? Do I enjoy being criticised or do I hate criticism in any form? Do I have faults?
Am I fully obedient to God? Am I the kind of person who likes to be noticed? Do I really have the baptism of the Holy Spirit or I’m still relying on one funny dream I had a long time ago? Do I tell lies against God? Do I say God said when He didn’t say anything? Do I think or meditate on immorality? What do you think when you are on your bed alone at night, as a bachelor or as a spinster? Do I like committing secret sins? Not all problems are caused by the enemies. Many play serious roles in their own problems. Before you bind a problem, examine it carefully so as to be sure that you are not binding your own self. Face the truth, do it now and don’t allow the enemy to be using your weakness against you.
Adapted from the message “Problems that are not from enemies” preached by Dr D.K Olukoya the General Overseer of MFM Worldwide.