Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why We Suffer - Part 2

But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  1 Peter 3:14

No one wants to suffer.  No one is getting in line or raising their hand for a life of suffering.  If we had our way, we would live a life of complacency; a life without negative circumstances, situations and people and yet the word of God tells us that when we make the decision to align ourselfs with Jesus Christ, there is some suffering that will take place.  And yet we have this confidence:

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.  Romans 8:28

Suffering rids you of the old self-nature. As you are stirred, troubled, and poured out, your spiritual scent changes from carnal to spiritual.   As children of God; believers in Jesus Christ, it is imperative that we understand that our suffering for righteousness sake is a proving or testing of our faith and relationship with God.  It teaches us how to come into alignment with God’s will and His purpose for our lives.  Below are continued reasons to understand some of the reasons and ways we may suffer:

Ö         Your Focus Is Changed:

When you experience suffering you often focus your attention on cause and effect. You are concerned with what caused the difficult circumstances and the terrible effect it is having in your life. God wants to change your focus from the temporal to the eternal:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:17-18)

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.      (I Peter 4:12-13)

If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. . . (II Timothy 2:12)

Ö         The Old Self-Nature Is Changed:

God said of the nation of Moab:

Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity; therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.  (Jeremiah 48:11)

Because Moab had not experienced the troublesome pouring out and stirring similar to that necessary to develop good wine, the nation did not change. Because Moab was at ease and settled in prosperity the nation did not develop and mature spiritually. Therefore there was no change. His own scent remained in him.

 Ö         God Prepares You For Ministry:

You want to be used by God. You desire to be more like Jesus and be a chosen vessel for His use. God answers your prayer through suffering:

Behold I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10)

It is through affliction that you move beyond the calling as a child of God to become chosen of God. Affliction according to the will of God refines you for His use just as metals are refined in a furnace in the natural world.

Ö         You Are Prepared To Reign With Christ:

If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. . . (II Timothy 2:12)

Ö         Suffering Brings Spiritual Blessing:

Jesus said:

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Ö         You Learn Obedience Through Suffering:

Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. . . (Hebrews 5:8)

Ö         Suffering Tests The Word Of God Within You:

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalms 12:6)

Ö         Suffering Humbles You:

Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;  Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end. . . (Deuteronomy 8:15-16)

Ö         Suffering Enlarges You:

This means you grow spiritually:

Thou has enlarged me when I was under pressure. (Psalms 4:1 RS)

Ö         You Come To Know God Intimately:

You come to know God on a more intimate basis through suffering.   Job, who suffered much, learned this truth and said. . .

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:5-6)

Some of us know God only second handedly. When you are experiencing the blessings of life, God is often a luxury instead of a necessity. But when you have a real need, God becomes a necessity. Job came to know God more intimately through suffering. Before he suffered, Job knew God through theology. Afterwards, he knew Him by experience.

Apostle Paul expressed a similar desire when he said:

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death. (Philippians 3:10)

You can only come to know God in resurrection power through the intimate fellowship of suffering.

Throughout his trial, Job questioned God as to the cause of his suffering. It is not wrong to question God. Jesus knew the purpose for which He had come into the world was to die for the sins of all mankind. Yet in His hour of suffering He cried out, "My God, My God, WHY hast thou forsaken me?" It is what follows the questioning that is important. Jesus's next words were, "Into thy hands I commit my spirit."

Despite the questions, Job's response was. . .

Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. . .  (Job 13:15)

For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. (Job 19:25-26)

After all the questioning is finished, the emphasis must change from "me" to "Thee." You must commit your suffering, with all its unanswered questions, into the hands of God.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

God may reveal some of the purposes in your suffering, but it is possible you will never fully understand it:

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing. . .  (Proverbs 25:2)

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us. . . (Deuteronomy 29:29)

There are some secret things that belong only to the Lord. As Job, you may never understand all the purposes of your suffering:
Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way? (Proverbs 20:24 TLB)

When God finally talked with Job, He used several examples from nature which Job could not explain. God stressed that if Job could not understand what he saw in the natural world, he certainly could not understand that which he could not see in the spiritual world.

When Job faced God, it no longer mattered that he did not get an answer to his questions about suffering. He was no longer controlled and tormented by human reasoning. He replaced questions, not with answers, but with faith.

When Job stood before God, he had no new answers. He was given no new facts about his suffering. But he replaced questions with faith. Job had been in the direct presence of God, and that experience left no room for questions or doubts.

Know this:

When you come to know God intimately through suffering, you see yourself as you really are. You no longer know God second-handedly. That face-to-face encounter with God does what arguments and discussions cannot do.

(Bible Study)


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