Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sufferings of Christ

Sufferings of Christ
Mar 9, 2009
Phil 3:10 "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."

We live in a day and age when comfort is far more important than form. We'd prefer to have things feel right than actually be right. If it is what we want, then it is worth any extra price. We love people who fill our heads with what we want to hear and we tend to only have friends that give to us rather than take. We love sermons or messages that preach of God's goodness and intent to bless our lives. We love to hear pastors talk about God's will for us to be happy, full, and content, where God is more interested in making sure our lives are overflowing with blessing than endure hardship. We are to avoid this temptation when it comes to the Word of God, as scripture says, "...instead [of sound doctrine], to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

Despite the fact that we only actually listen to what we want to hear, there is another side to God's intent for our lives. Christ, though God wanted Him to have a full life, still had to suffer in His effort to fulfill God's will for His life. Specifically, Christ had to die for our sins. Though God does not intend for us to die for anyone's sins, God does want us to share in Christ's sufferings. Scripture is very clear that we are here on earth to serve God, not the other way around, and we are to follow Christ's example. The example to follow is not specifically Christ's death on the cross but His willingness to lay down His comfort for the will of God. God's goal for Christ was that He give up His desire to be comfortable if it meant God's will would be completed on this earth. THIS is the example we are to follow, to give up our desire to be comfortable, and accept situational suffering, if it means God's will is made complete here on earth.

Christian, your life will not be a completely comfortable ride. And just because things are not comfortable does not mean it is not God's will for your life. If we are to follow Christ's example of submitting our comfort and accepting a degree of suffering for God's will, then so be it. God's will can only be accomplished correctly if He is guiding the steps. God's will is that every man, woman, and child be saved and spend eternity in Heaven with Him. This consumes His thoughts and ideas, and God loves it when you submit your comfort if it means His will can be accomplished. There may be an extra person in Heaven someday because you laid down your situational comfort and accepted a degree of hardship or suffering in an effort to accomplish God's will. You never know what it will take to save a soul. Who knows what it cost someone else to make sure you had the opportunity to know God?

There is a flip side to the suffering as well. Just as we share in the suffering of laying down our will for the Lord's desire, so also will we share in Christ's glory in Heaven. That glory is not clearly defined in the Bible, but it is clear that we get to share in it. I'd prefer to share in even a small portion of Heaven's goodness and glory than any earthly comforts this world has to offer.

1. Do you only accept God's goodness for your life and not His suffering?
2. What would your life look like if you accepted and shared in Christ's suffering?
3. Do you desire more of your own comfort or God's will on this earth?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Rom 8:17, 2 Cor 1:5, 2 Tim 4:3, 1 Peter 1:11, 1 Peter 4:13, 1 Peter 5:1

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