THE WILL OF GOD- suffering
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you beloved. You're welcome to our studies today as we go into the word to reveal the glory of God in our Iives. As you know, for the past few weeks we have been trying to expound and understand the will of God for our lives.
Today we will concentrate on suffering as the will of God. Now this is sadly one of the most hidden among the will of God. The pulpit is silent of it and the pew is also not ready to hear it due to the drastic effect of our so called new version of Christianity. This doctrine was cherished and embraced by the early church . Our savior Jesus Christ introduced us to it by promising us persecution and Paul and the other new testament writers did expound it in their books.
So today I want you to know in black and white that the Lord, the God of creation wants everyone to suffer. I know how hard this sounds to the natural man because it has never delighted in spiritual things. It can't accept it. But it's the will of God for us. I want to start by quoting a verse from Jesus which was more of a promise to true believers. He said
Mark 10:29-30 "Yes," Jesus replied, "and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.
Now this verse sounds very difficult to comprehend. But we just need to accept it in its plainness. It's clear that by virtue of our stance for the Gospel, we shall by default attract to ourselves the hatred of this world. So among the things we shall receive in this world as a compensation for what we have lost for the gospels' sake is persecution. This shows us how important suffering is to God. But as we go on, I pray God opens our eyes to see what he had planned to accomplish in our pain.
1 Peter 3:17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. Now this verse tells us that it's the will of God that we suffer. Not as a result of our sinfulness but because of our love for God and his commands. And those who have professed to follow him with all their heart, mind and soul will automatically enter into this suffering. Why? Because the world must hate us. And Why must the world hate us? Because we are pilgrims who have died to our old master and now live for a new master. The devil and his comrades hate us because we are using the arsenals of God to destroy his works.
By virtue that we have become a coheir with Christ triggers the host of darkness to assault us in all directions. It's the will of God that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].Ephesians 6:12. We must also be happy for this because we already have the victory in Jesus. He had suffered like we are and was victorious.
But as I've touched on earlier, we must be sure our suffering is not as a result of our sin. For we read that "1 Peter 2:20 For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God". But the question that echoes within us is "what do we gain from this suffering? And that's the question I want to answer from the bible .
#1. Suffering brings us glory.
From the verse we just read earlier, you will agree that since there's no glory in suffering for evil, there must be glory in suffering for righteousness sake. Now remember Job, God's friend , he was blessed by God massively. But God decided to allow the Accuser to tempt him. Why? He wanted to glorify Job and bless him more. Because we know the end of the story, everything he lost was restored magnanimously. So now we know that one of the reasons for our suffering is to be glorified and ultimately give glory to God.
#2. It tests our faith
Still in the book of 1 Peter. He said
"1 Peter 1:7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." From this verse we can clearly see that one of the reasons why God will our suffering is to purify us. He will treat us like a gold in furnace, revealing our beauty from within as he burn the rag that covers us. Also Paul went into similar testing. He spoke of his testing. "even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud."
Despite his spiritual maturity, he had no immunity to suffering. As long as the Christian remains in this earthly tent, he will forever be tested by God to sanctify him. So here we see that despite his revelations from God he had to be tested. Spiritual experience does not make one holier but the purifying work of the holy ghost. God gave him a thorn in his flesh. Yes. It's God who gave it to him. It's his will that Paul sufferred. Like Job, He allowed the devil to tempt him. Why? To reveal his weaknesses so that he could depend solely on the power of God for survival and not his spiritual pedigree and revelations.
He later continued and said "2 Corinthians 12:8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away." That's our reaction towards tests and chastisement. We always pray that it's taken away from us. So he sought God three times. He sought him to the highest point . Perfectly entreated God to take it away from him but what was God's response?
2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
God has never made life absence of tests and persecutions. He won't ward off sufferings that will purify us. He will rather strengthen us with the armour of heaven and equip us to overcome. his grace is all we need. His power is well appracuated in times of distress. That's why I'm skeptical sometimes when people pray whenever they are in trouble that God should take it away from them.
If we are sure that we are doing the right thing, then we should be happy whenever these trials come our way. We must endure them. The early Christians denied deliverance from their persecutions because they knew that it was the will of God. They were suffering for doing good and counted it all joy because they were following the steps of their master Jesus as he has promised.
Therefore my dear friend *"James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have [its] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."". 2 Corinthians 12:10 "Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
Don't be deceived by those who preach that suffering is not for us. It's inevitable for Christians to go through persecution and distress and trails. Although some will experience more difficult tests, the purpose is to prepare us for the kingdom of God and we must be glad to "suffer with Christ"
God bless you for visiting my blog today. I pray that we will all take delight in what the devil throws at us because of our faith knowing that our Master will turn it into something glorious.