Sunday, September 18, 2016
Be Willing To Suffer
PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8 NET 5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6 who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
God's plan is to make you like Jesus (Romans 8:29). This does not mean you will have the same hair color or be the same height. It means having the same character, so you will act the same.
In order to help you, Jesus gave up the greatest privileges imaginable, and was obedient to God even to the point of death. Jesus was willing to suffer to help you.
It is God's highest ideal that you also be willing to suffer, if necessary, in order to help people. We cannot save people in the same way Jesus did. Yet we can show God's love by being willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of others, so they can know the love of Jesus.
We are not supposed to suffer what Jesus suffered in our place as our Deliverer. We should not suffer what Jesus bore as our Substitute. So suffering sin, sickness, or poverty is not God's will for anyone.
But there is a suffering God approves and expects from us -- suffering so people can be helped. It is walking in love in a world of people who are not always nice.
1 PETER 4:19 ESV 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
We live in the midst of selfish people -- who God loves -- but are still lost in darkness and living in sin.
God loves the world and wants them to know the truth and be saved. God wants us to also love them enough to be willing -- just like Jesus was -- to put up with inconvenience and discomfort in order to touch them with God's love.
This type of suffering is the heart of Christianity. It is an expression of the love of God. It is the kind of love that is willing to pay a price to help others.
ROMANS 8:17-18 ESV 17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
According to Romans 8:17, God's children are supposed to suffer WITH Jesus. But we are not to suffer apart from Jesus.
What is Jesus suffering today? Not sickness! Not poverty! Not separation from God! But He is still suffering rejection by people. So we are called to suffer the rejection, ridicule, persecution, misunderstanding, and disrespect the world gives Jesus.
Being willing to suffer so people can be helped is proof of God's love in our hearts, confirming that we are born of God and allowing His nature to dominate us. Thus demonstrating that we have matured to become like Jesus and are qualified and ready to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom of love.
COLOSSIANS 1:24 NLT 24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.
When someone is willing to suffer so that God's will may be accomplished, it shows they have died to self (interest). They are putting God's will ahead of their own interest.
PHILIPPIANS 1:29 NLT 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.
It is actually a great privilege to suffer for Jesus. And the glory and reward we will receive for doing so is beyond compare -- not only in Heaven but also here and now!
SAY THIS: Because of God's great love, I am willing to suffer, if need be, to help people who God loves.
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