Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

We Must Not Mind Suffering

1 PETER 2:19-21 – For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

 

THEME OF THE DAY:  WE MUST NOT MIND SUFFERING.  Let’s make a confession before we go any further.  Nobody likes to suffer.  Nobody.  We are creatures of habit and creatures who want comfort, and that not a little. So, today’s theme and scripture are not “easy pills to swallow” for any Christian. Yet, pay attention to what the Apostle Peter states of suffering. We are called to it because Jesus suffered as an example that we are to follow His steps.  And listen to the Apostle Paul as he weighs in – For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake (Philippians 1:29).

 

So, with confession and instruction about suffering, let’s look at three good works God does in His children through suffering.

 

First, suffering weans us from the world. When difficult seasons of suffering come, all the pleasures, attractions, and attachments of the world lose their grip in our lives.  They don’t satisfy. They don’t bring comfort.  We see them as the Apostle John defines them – For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:16-17).

 

Another good work God does in His children through suffering is deepen their hunger and pursuit of the Lord Jesus.  In the seventy-third Psalm, Asaph makes a statement which is to be the passion in every believer’s heart – Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you (Psalm 73:25).  But take time and read all that Asaph wrote prior to this longing of his heart.  He was envious of the wicked. He felt all his efforts to live morally upright was in vain. Basically, Asaph was discouraged and suffering. The result? God deepened his desire for Him, and that is the good fruit from suffering.

 

Finally, suffering intensifies our yearning for heaven and being with our God.  All the tears we shed in life; all the seasons of loss; all the trials exhausting us, and all the sleepless nights of suffering emotionally, spiritually, and physically work a longing in our hearts for the land of no more suffering – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).  And what makes heaven, heaven, is to be in the presence of the God of all comfort forever!

 

So, let’s not mind suffering in this life. And we will be able to do so by remembering the good works God does through our suffering!

 

PRAYER: “Father, help me to gladly submit to suffering in my life as it identifies me with Your Son.”

 

QUOTE: “Don’t look at the pain in our suffering but the purposes in our suffering.”

 

In the affection of Christ Jesus,

 

Pastor Jim