Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Why We Suffer - Part 1

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  
(1 Peter 4:1-2)

You heard the voice of God. You sought guidance, it was given, and you set off along the path of life which God seemed to indicate. But as a result of this decision you are now experiencing problems which would not have arisen apart from this new path of "God's will" on which you travel.

Did you really hear the voice of God or have you made a mistake? Are these difficult experiences a sign from God that you are not living in His will? Does God permit suffering to come to someone who is living righteously within the will of God?

When Jesus was here on earth and spoke of the suffering He was to endure, many of His followers deserted Him

. . .  But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:55-66)

They expected the Messiah to reign in power and glory. Instead, He spoke of suffering. They could not understand, so they turned away.

If you do not understand suffering as it relates to the will of God, then you too may turn from following Jesus when you face difficult circumstances. God did not create suffering. It originally entered the world through man’s sin (Genesis 3). But God can take that which is intended for evil and use it for good to accomplish His purposes.

Believe it or not, there are spiritual benefits of suffering.  Job spoke of his suffering this way: 

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.  (Job 13:15)

When you suffer according to God's will:

¨        Your Faith Is Tested:

Everything in the spiritual world is based on faith. This is why the strength of your faith must be tested:

That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:7)

It is a trial of faith when you pray as Jesus did, for God to let the cup of bitterness pass, and yet it does not pass. Instead, you are forced to drink deeply of its suffering. But faith will teach us that our prayers are not unanswered just because they are not answered the way we want.
¨        You Are Able To Comfort Others:

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (II Corinthians 1:3-4)

When you share God's comfort with others you. . .

. . .lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13)

¨        You Learn Not To Trust Your Own Self:

Paul spoke of the purpose of his sufferings in Asia:

. . .In Asia we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life;  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead. (II Corinthians 1:8-9)

You will come to recognize that. . .

. . . we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7)

¨        Positive Qualities Are Developed:

We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, (resulting in the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts). (Romans 5:3-4)

. . .after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (I Peter 5:10)

These qualities conform you to the image of Jesus, which is God's plan for you.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28-29)

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.   (Hebrews 2:10, 18)

¨        The Works Of God Are Manifested:

When the disciples saw a man who had been blind from birth, they asked who was responsible for his condition. Was it the sin of his parents or of the man himself? Jesus answered:
Neither this man sinned nor His parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in Him. (John 9:3)

¨        The Power Of God Is Perfected:

And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9)

¨        That Which Is Unstable Is Removed:

Suffering results in all that is unstable being shaken out of your life. You cease to depend on people, programs, or material things because these all fail in your time of need.  God permits this. . .

. . .removing of those things that are shaken as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  (Hebrews 12:26-27)

During the storms of life, everything crumbles that is not built upon God and His Word

For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.   (Psalm 119:89)

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:   And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Change your mindset about suffering for Jesus' sake and know that God is preparing and maturing you.  

Be not dismayed, there are more benefits to come . . .

Bible Study


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