In today’s study, Selwyn makes an interesting statement: ” … in many sections of the Church (people are taught) that we can confidently expect complete spiritual satisfaction to be ours this side of heaven … “. I think the main problem is highlighted in the use of the words ‘complete spiritual satisfaction’; Scripture clearly tells us that ‘complete spiritual satisfaction’ will only be experienced by us – when we arrive in the ‘promised land’ – heaven.
Consequently, I agree with Selwyn when he implies that this teaching is not based on what the whole bilble tells us about our spiritual journey here on earth.
In John 16:33 & 17: 18-21 (NLT) – we hear Jesus say: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
” … Just as you (my Father) sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
Jesus is telling us, that we will have many trials and sorrows. Jesus suffered during His time here on earth – and we, because we have been sent by Jesus to proclaim His Name to the world, will also suffer. His eyes were fixed on Calvary and His resurrection – so too, our eyes are fixed on Jesus and our resurrection. It’s the victory Jesus has won through His love that gives us the ‘heart’ to carry on – it’s our hope, in complete spiritual satisfaction, that we long to arrive home – with Him, in heaven.
Paul’s relationship with Jesus was/is very strong – and, Paul was sent to preach the good news – doing God’s work, however, he still experienced suffering, 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (NLT): ” … Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers.
I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights.
I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”
It should be clear to anyone – we will experience suffering during our earthly journey and the emotions we feel when, for example, we find ourselves hungry, thirsty and shivering in the cold – should not be denied (even if we might be singing Psalms in an effort to keep warm).
As Selwyn says in his conclusion: “Sadly, (some) churches tend to reward those who can create the illusion of having it all together by holding them up as examples of what a Christian should be, while actually, in some cases, such people may be less spiritual than those whose integrity compels them not to deny their struggles.”
Jesus, knows the condition of our heart, we can’t hide the truth from Him – it’s useless to deny our true feelings and emotions. Do you agree?