Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For Christ's Sake

- For Christ's sake--For professing  Christ, for preaching His Gospel, for praising His name, and for His glory alone...Paul was content with all these afflictions. The reason is Christ. When Christ alone is enough for us, we can be content in all circumstances! We can be content in our weaknesses because Christ's sufficient grace and perfect power are manifested in our weaknesses. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (Isaiah 40:29) We can delight in insults/mistreatment from others when we stand true and faithful to God because we know we are blessed. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." ~Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12) In hardships/distresses, we can still remain cheerful in Christ because He is our Joy. In persecutions/oppression/harassment, we can glorify God as we bear the marks of Jesus Christ. In calamities/difficulties, we can rest in Christ because He is our Refuge and Strength and an ever-present Help in trouble. We can find peace, joy, contentment, and purpose in the valleys as we fully trust in Him. 

- When we are weak, we are sustained and strengthened by the power and strength of Christ. Trials and troubles draw us closer to God and depend on Him more. They are opportunities through which He displays His grace and power in our lives. God's grace is always enough for us. His grace is there to comfort us in all our afflictions. When we acknowledge that we're weak and rely on God's grace and strength to carry us through, we become strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Paul was pleased with his condition where Christ's power and grace are magnified and glorified. He was pleased to endure all these things for Christ's sake. 
“Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are exempt from the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. Scripture does teach that the Christian can face tribulation, crisis, calamity, and personal suffering with a supernatural power that is not available to the person outside of Christ.” (Billy Graham)

"We shall find that the deepest humility is the secret of the truest happiness, of a joy that nothing can destroy." (Andrew Murray) Humility (humbly acknowledging that we are weak and we need God), faith (trusting God's heart even when we can't trace God's hand), and eternal perspective are essential in difficult times. Remember that our afflictions are temporary and allowed by our Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom and love. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all! So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) We can learn much from Paul. Paul had faced sufferings, trials, and hardships as he preached the Good News about Jesus Christ. But he knew that one day these would all be over and he would obtain God's rest and rewards. No matter what happens to us in this life, we have the assurance of eternal life when all sufferings will end and all sorrow will be no more. What a glorious hope!

- When we realize that there are purposes and benefits in our sufferings, it helps us live above the pain, discomfort, and difficulties and focus more on our finish line. Some of the benefits include reminding us of Christ's suffering for us, keeping us from pride and self-reliance, causing us to look beyond this brief and temporary life, proving our faith genuine, and providing opportunities for God to demonstrate His grace, power, and faithfulness.

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