We all suffer many things in life. Some are self induced due to our poor decisions. We may suffer for what we believe or for righteousness sake. We may even suffer because of others actions or lack of actions. The Holy Spirit woke me this morning and began speaking to me about the suffering of true apostles.
Apostles’ suffering is different from the “fellowship of suffering”. Apostles experience all the forms of suffering and take on one more as well. The suffering they endure is beyond them personally or their personal suffering but it’s suffering because the plan and intentions of God are being rejected by his sons and daughters thus the entire plan of God is delayed or sidetracked wasting precious time. Apostles are strategists, visionary planners and know the intentions of God. As wise master builders, they see how the pieces fit and what will be created. When people reject the investment of God and God’s plan for their life, they never stop to see how their life affects the overall larger plan of God He is trying to unfold. Apostles take on the suffering due to others’ decisions to reject God in these areas.
True apostles carry a suffering in how these decisions affect the heart of God and His intentions. They relate directly to missing elements within that plan, once present but now missing. Each ministry gift relates to the suffering of Christ differently. True apostles take on the sufferings of Christ in this area, not so much his rejection but another aspect- the rejection of God’s plan. True apostles do not take the suffering personally, or in other words it does not affect them negatively nor is it a thing of “look at me suffer for what I am doing”. But true suffering by true apostles is done in humility and in secret and seldom talked about. They carry suffering as a battle scar and reminder of how men can reject God’s intentions at any time. For the most part even when things are going well for them, apostles are still suffering. It actually is almost a lifestyle as they see the end and desire to see it in fullness.
False apostles portray their suffering to try and get affirmation of their false identity and office. They believe if others see them suffer then that affirms them. Nothing can be further from the truth. Most who claim to be apostles and have suffering is because of their own decision to take on a false identity, an identity God never intended. Their suffering is personal and they take the circumstances in life personally. These false apostles see their personal suffering as part of an ongoing lifestyle to bring affirmation. After all, the only way they see suffering is through personal suffering for righteousness sake possibly, and relate to the rejection of Christ on the cross being rejected by men. They become self deceived in what true suffering is. They find themselves in a perpetual state of saying the right words but seeing no result. Thus suffering is the fruit coming from being self deceived and is possibly the worst kind of deception because it comes from the individual themselves so they cannot see it as easily as coming from an outside source. The kingdom is not advance but that does not affect them, not being affirmed does.
The true sufferings of an apostle cause them to be on guard to make sure God’s strategy and intentions are always going forward with multiple participators. If one drops, another is in place to take their role. This suffering has caused them to be a “wise master builder” in approach and contingency planning. They are suffering for the sake of the King and His kingdom coming to the earth. The things others see as suffering as they go through life, things all believers endure, hold no grip on them and are discarded as not truly suffering because no lasting fruit is being produced.
True apostles actually see suffering as part of the process of their own development and also the only way the truths of God will come to bear in the earth. True apostles suffer for the things that bring God’s intentions and plan to the earth. They are suffering for the Word’s sake. Suffering for the advancement of the Kingdom to their own demise. Suffering hardship to unlock the destiny and dreams in others. Suffering the loss of spiritual sons and daughters who were not willing to embrace God’s plan and strategy. Every true apostle has suffered the loss of these things and if they have not, then their apostleship may be in question. Most apostles suffer in silence as “the sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the Glory yet to be revealed”. So why would they talk of the suffering when a greater Glory is coming?
The Kingdom of God suffers violence and comes with opposition. It comes with a price and every apostle knows it. They know there will be loss. They know they will be misunderstood and rejected, but they also know the rejection is not towards them personally but of the Message and models they bring.