The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING:
December 26, 1999
The Doctrine of A Personal Sense of Destiny
The A FORTIORI and The ELATIVE SUPERLATIVE
In 2CO 12:7-10 "And for this reason, that I should not begin to become arrogant because of the extraordinary quality of revelations, I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel from Satan that he might torment me, that I should not begin to become arrogant. Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He had assured me for my benefit, My grace has been and still is sufficient for you. For My power is made operational in a state of weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
In verse 9 we have the "elative superlative" in the phrase "Most gladly therefore rather." Here Paul teaches us that there is something that he discovered to solve his greatest problem, his thorn in the flesh and that something is even greater than prayer, because prayer is not a problem-solving device. In verse 8, Paul prayed three times that God would remove his thorn in the flesh, a prayer that could not be answered. Often prayers are not answered because of the fact that it is not God's will. This same thing happened to Moses as he asked God to allow him to see the Promised Land, finally the Lord said "Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter." DEU 3:23-26.
Paul's prayer was not answered to teach Paul the importance of handling suffering for blessing with the two power options and the three spiritual skills and the ten problem solving devices. It's not wrong to pray for people, it's not wrong for people to pray for help, but remember that prayer is not a problem-solving device. If God had answered Paul's prayer, Paul would have missed out on one of the greatest blessings of life. Paul remembered what the Lord had said. So in 2CO 12:9 "And He has assured me for my benefit My grace has been and still is sufficient for you. For My power is made operational in a state of weakness Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
The pain was so intense that Paul skipped his spiritual life and went to prayer. What the Lord does not remove in our lives, He expects us to solve in some other way within the framework of our spiritual life through the function of the ten problem solving devices. You do not need a miracle from God; you have far superior power to miracles. God does not need to perform miracles, when He has given us assets that were pioneered and tested by Christ in the dispensation of the hypostatic union. You have more power available to you than all of the Old Testament miracles put together. Paul was literally asking the Lord to remove the basis for his promotion to spiritual maturity, and God's answer was "No, No, No."
Paul's suffering was designed to have grace orientation and personal love for God the Father deployed and functioning on the Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) line of his soul. If God answered Paul's prayer, took away the thorn in the flesh, and removed the suffering, it would have destroyed the offensive action left to Paul to reach the highest stage of the spiritual life. In the dispensation of the Church-age, angels observe members of the royal family of God in their failure or success to execute and fulfill the Pre designed Plan of God. 1CO 4:9; EPH 3:10; 1TI 5:21; 1PE 1:12.
On the other hand, Satan has organized a tremendous demon army to hinder Church-age believers from fulfilling the PPOG. Satanic observation is also in his organization of fallen angels to resist evangelism and the fulfillment of the PPOG, Fallen angels are organized to resist and oppose positive believers, EPH 6:12-17; JOB 1:6; 2:1-3; 1PE 5:8.
Satan's major objective is twofold:
1. To blind the minds of unbelievers so they won't accept Christ, 2CO 4:3-4.
2. If they do believe in Christ, hinder their function and execution of the PPOG, distract them in every way possible, and keep them from making Bible doctrine their number one priority.
The problem solving devices are designed to deal with every category of suffering, converting it into momentum and blessing as we press on toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, PHI 3:11. So, remove the suffering and you remove the blessing, and you destroy the spiritual momentum of your life. (See Doctrine of a Personal Sense of Destiny, Part 14. "What the Lord does not remove, He expects us to solve with the problem solving devices". Take the suffering out of your life and you destroy the spiritual momentum of your life. Suffering is often designed by God as a field training exercise, preparing you for every future crisis in your life. God intends for us to go through suffering with flying colors, and that's why believers who pray for miracles never understand the power and grace of God. An effective prayer life is the result of your spiritual growth, but never the means of your spiritual growth JAM 5:16. In fact, Paul's greater effectiveness in prayer came from Paul's understanding and using the problem solving devices. The effectiveness of prayer demands the function of the spiritual life. Prayer is the extension of the spiritual life; it is not the means of executing the spiritual life. You are not spiritual because you pray; you pray because you are spiritual.
As with many of our problems in life, Paul realized the solution was not praying that the thorn be removed, instead he found out why he had it and that there were divine solutions to it. We may not understand it at the time but the divine solutions are given to eliminate the human solutions to our problems. So Paul says "Most gladly therefore I would rather boast about my weaknesses that the power of Christ may reside in me."
God gave Paul the power, the grace solutions to solve his problems. Since they are divine solutions, they exclude human solutions and human viewpoint--such as in this context the misuse of prayer.
There are other human viewpoints that offer solutions: psychology and philosophy, arrogance skills and defense mechanisms. Legalism instead of grace, ignorance instead of cognition, gimmicks instead of doctrine. That elative superlative emphasizes the fact that the deployment of problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul provides the only accurate application of Bible doctrine to our experience. His application of Bible doctrine to experience through problem solving devices results in a personal sense of destiny, and is founded on the absolutes of metabolized doctrine circulating in the believer's soul. So, when the believer begins with God's grace, he ends up with God's power--the two power options. In grace, God provided these thorns. God initiated these things to keep Paul from becoming arrogant. God allowed the four different areas of testing even though they came from the kingdom of darkness. In this passage, Paul is emphasizing the absolutes of the spiritual life and excludes manmade solutions.
There are four phrases in 2CO 12:9 to illustrate this principle. "My grace has been and still is sufficient for you. For My power is perfected in weakness". The first: "My grace has been" refers to the divine objective of grace from eternity past providing for us our very own portfolio with those invisible assets.
Then: My grace "still is" refers to the divine objective of grace in time, which is the utilization of the two power options and the three spiritual skills and the ten problem solving devices.
Third: "My power is perfected" means to be completed, accomplished, to be made operational.
Finally: "in weakness" which means a state of weakness human incapability to solve the problem; helplessness. When we finally come to the end of our rope and there is no solution, God says "My power is made operational in your status of weakness human incapability to solve the problem; helplessness."
Then comes the elative superlative: "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
We recognize that as a part of our personal sense of destiny, that God's solutions are the only solutions to certain problems in life that we face. The thorn in the flesh problem where the only solution is the divine solution and this is why we need to recognize our personal sense of destiny and the ten problem solving devices.
Remember, you have a personal sense of destiny, MAT 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows."
The point is that if the Father takes care of the sparrows, which is the lowest bird of all, how much more will he take care of you? If the sparrow is taken care of by God, how much more can you develop that supergrace capacity to receive from God?
That's what God wants you to do.
As our Lord said in MAT 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls."
If birds have a destiny, it follows a fortiori that believers have a destiny. If God provides for birds, it follows a fortiori that God can provide for the Church Age believer.
Does God provide for the birds?
Listen to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in MAT 6:26-27, "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by worrying can add eighteen inches to his height?"