It is obvious that every mind has his own agenda. This makes a Bible ‘teacher”s teaching life challenging. Although we all agree that we should be led by the Holy Spirit, who is our real teacher, when it comes to interpreting the Bible, every mind comes forth with its own agenda. Does this mean the interpretation becomes distorted and not aligned with the original God’s words? Often it does distort the intent of the words of God.
- We need to be alert against spiritual influences from the enemy’s spirits. For example, a brother in Christ has encountered depressive thoughts because of his sudden Spirit-filled changes which his not-yet-Spirit-filled wife could not accept. Nor can his own not-yet-Spirit-filled church accept him and support him in terms of his renewed discipleship life. For about seven months he alone went through his new life in Christ filled with enthusiasm and zeal for God’s words and God’s kingdom.
- The depressive thoughts hit too. The more he is on fire for Jesus, the more the ‘enemies’ pour cold water on him. As he read through the whole Bible, he found identification with the suffering Christ and all verses about suffering. When his church invited speakers he listened to and was touched by testimonies of intense sufferings often from totalitarian regimes (political persecutions), and severe illnesses.
His predisposed mind’s agenda of identification with suffering has preconditioned him to see justification in his personal suffering, and that it glorifies God, justifying his weak position adopted in his family, as changing from it to that of the head of the family is more difficult and he is not prepared for the battle.
How should we view this biased interpretation of the Bible? Do all sufferings identify with the sufferings of Christ? The answer is in the Bible. Since it involves Christ’s suffering, the only right way is to see what Christ’s suffering means in actual Bible verses (not in emotion or feeling or even what we think).
Here are some basic Biblical principles and applications:
The Bible has to be read as a whole (not once but many times and on ongoing basis).
The Bible verses must be read in chunks (whole book, whole chapter, chapters before and after, and all related Bible books and verses in other books of the Bible).
The clear focus is on the Almighty God the Father who is also the Creator, not man. On Jesus who is the Christ, the Son of God, not any other name. On the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ (God). On the redemption plan of God.
God is Spirit. We read to understand on His spiritual terms, not on the terms of our human senses (physiological/mental/emotional).
The Holy Spirit is the only way to understanding God’s words.
The Bible does not give allowance or cover up personal weaknesses that contradict the stated commands of God.
Jesus Christ has given more than sufficient resources in the supernatural realm to each believer to live the full victorious life in total obedience to all the commands written in the Bible. Compliance to one command does not contradict another command. No command nullifies all that Jesus has accomplished on the cross and given to every believer in Christ in the heavenly places.
Power and authority are required to live the superabundant life Jesus has required of His disciples and Jesus has already given them to all who believe.
- Jesus Himself only did what He saw the Father did and spoke accordingly. The sufferings he bore were two-fold in the following Bible verses:
A. OVERCOMING SIN: “For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).” 2 Corinthians 5:21
How did he do it? “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross.” Philippians 2:8
B. OVERCOMING DISEASES: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness- by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25
JESUS HAD OFFERED HIMSELF ONCE FOR ALL IN HIS SUFFERING, AS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE. HE HAD FULFILLED THE HOLY AND RIGHTEOUSNESS REQUIREMENT OF GOD, AS REVEALED IN THE BOOKS OF LAW OF MOSES AND THE PROPHETS.
“Then He (Jesus) said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’” “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:9a-10.
Reading on from Hebrews 10:12-24, we can know that according to the will of God, Jesus had opened our way to God by His blood (the blood of the covenant) and His flesh (body). The Holy Spirit of grace has witnessed this to us.
Jesus’ suffering was part and parcel of the above supernatural salvation package and it had been done. No amount of our own suffering could add to this accomplishment. Jesus’ sacrifice brought glory to the Father as He obeyed and did the will of God.
Coming back to the case of the brother who is being oppressed under the evil spirits of Jezebel and Ahab, is the suffering in accordance to the will of God? What did Elijah (the prophet at that time) do to such spirits? He did not allow himself to suffer under them. He glorified God by obeying God’s Spirit. He was given instructions and protections by the Spirit of the Lord. He did not suffer a bit. later when the spirit of fear followed by the spirit of depression came upon him, the Lord sent His angel to minister to Elijah, who recovered and went on to his next season of ministry.
Was the brother obeying the words of God and was he led by the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18 clearly stated that Christians wives are to submit to Christian husbands. Like Elijah’s case, he needs to take up the spiritual authority of Jesus Christ and deals with the evil spirits of Jezebel and Ahab.
Was he in obedience to the command of the Lord when he sought to know the will of God and was filled with the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 5:17-18 has the answer. What did Jesus tell His disciples? Luke 10:1-11 details His instructions to the seventy He sent out to ‘harvest’ for the kingdom of God.
Lesson learned: beware of mind agenda influenced by the enemy’s spirits.
On the case of a Christian who suddenly became very sick (with vital organs failing) for forty days in the hospital and recovered despite the doctors’ finding no cause nor treatments to cure him, was the case glorifying God? Which part of the Bible say that such a case of suffering (apparently from spiritual enemies) give glory to God?
What Jesus did over such cases of human being attacked by the evil spirits was very simple. He merely spoke a word and cast them out and stopped the sufferings. He had never spoken a positive word to allow the afflictions to continue. He stated His mission on earth clearly the day He started His earth ministry:
Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus did exactly just that as He had proclaimed, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21
Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”