Hello again, Willing Spirits! X
June is finally here which means summer is too! We thank God for bringing us to the sixth month, the half way mark of this year. Let it be filled with joy and blessings in Jesus’ name! I hope you all had a great, eventful week. Let’s pray that this week is even better!
At first glance of this verse, it seems as if Paul was only referring to the suffering of followers of Christ but he goes on to say ‘…for the creation was subjected to futility…’ [v.20] which suggests he meant every form of suffering. However, there is a slight difference in the sense that as followers of Christ we can take comfort in knowing that our suffering is not the end. In other words, the fact that we are in Christ and live like Him, not only do we share his suffering but when the time comes, we will also experience His glory with Him by His grace. This verse is not minimising the suffering and pain we experience–it merely puts it into an everlasting perspective.
So yes, following in Jesus‘ footsteps includes enduring the suffering that He too experienced in this world full of sin as 1 Peter 2:21 says ‘For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…’ [NKJV] The suffering in the world originates from sin and the rejection of God. Jesus paid the price for the sin part–someone who knew no sin–suffered so that we wouldn’t have to suffer eternally. He gave us a chance, an opportunity to escape pain and suffering should we choose it.
Therefore, suffering for the will of God, provides an opportunity to get closer to God and can sometimes serve as a test of faith. You cannot wholeheartedly say or know that you aren’t a thief until you’ve been put in a position to steal and didn’t do it. Similarly, we won’t know we truly have faith until we are put in a situation that requires us to exercise it.
Suffering in the name of faith/God, helps us build a resistance to complaining, losing our faith or questioning God, when we accept it and ‘…count it all joy…’ [James 1:2]. It produces perseverance, it strengthens our faith; ‘…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance…’ [Romans 5:3]. When we suffer, unlike unbelievers, we suffer knowing that we will also experience God‘s glory later as aforementioned earlier.
Situations like Job‘s, may pose the question “Why?” and although we knew the answer, Job never did. At the end of it all, he wasn’t okay with it since he questioned God numerously to which God responded with even more questions Job did not have the answers to. Afterwards, Job understood where he stood and repented. ‘The LORD has chastened me severely but He has not given me over to death‘ [Psalms 118: 18] is the epitome of Job’s life and probably some of ours as well.
The Christian walk was never made for the weak hearted, it isn’t meant to be easy but the reward that is to come, should we successfully endure the pain, is greater than what our minds can conceive.
‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. [v.16] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…’ [2 Corinthians 4:16-17]
Stay blessed, and I shall see you next week, God willing! X
– A fellow Willing Spirit