Monday, May 4, 2020
What does suffering mean to you? Is suffering a form of your loss, pain, hurt or denial of something? As we go through this COVD-19 pandemic, some of us may see it as a source of suffering. The verse about denying ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Jesus through this storm is very relevant now. Luke 9:2325 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?"
The quarantine lockdown life has magnified some truths in my own life. Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." "We die to our own way of doing things. We consider our will, our rights, our passions, and our goals to be crucified on the cross with Him. Our right to direct our own lives is dead to us." Just as the government is guiding us to a safer, new normal,so has Christ called us to follow His lead to a better life now and for eternity.
"Paul suffered more than most for Jesus’ sake. He said this to the Christians at Phillipi: "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him" (Philippians 1:29). The word granted here means "shown favor, given freely as a gift." Paul does not present suffering as a curse, but as a benefit. Suffering in some form is always going to be a part of being a true follower of Christ. Jesus said the path that leads to life is difficult (Matthew 7:14). Our hardship is also a way of identifying with His suffering in a small way." [gotquestions.org]
As for myself, my greatest suffering comes from within as I battle for control over a heart that must die to my own will and surrender to Christ’s lordship. Romans 7:15-25 says it clearly, "
e who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
We all have some assumptions about suffering, so I want to share 4 of them from Nancy Guthrie's bibe study session on Job in "Wisdom of God" and the rebuttal to each:
1] If I am godly, I won't have to suffer
We cant say if were good enough we wont suffer, Jesus did--who was sinless and perfect.
2]My suffering is about me and the here and now
God intends your suffering to be a magnificent demonstration of his glory.
Job's suffering was meant to develop trust in the God he loves
3] Our suffering is the result of God punishing us for our sin
Never, all the punishment you deserve was taken by Jesus
Suffering's endurance comes by knowing its purposeful, never random and out of love
It makes you fruitful
4] What I need most from God is relief from my suffering and answers to my question
He's the creator and I'm the creation that he can do whatever with
See gods glory at center of everything
Thank God for all we've been given and not deserved
In a fair world, There'd be no room for grace n mercy
May you always consider, however you are suffering, as being counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus Christ