Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Attitude toward suffering

Our Attitude toward suffering

In light of what Jesus has done, what is a little suffering in this life? Not to discount it, but we should always keep that in our minds. We deserved much worse. How dare we question God? How dare we question He who sent His Only Begotten Son to die in our place?

2 Thessalonians 1:5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—

We are to suffer for the kingdom of God. We need to accept suffering, and glorify God in our suffering. We must keep in mind first that suffering will come, and next that our suffering is for a purpose.

Job 2:10 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”...

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

We are not greater than Jesus, and He suffered; We should suffer more so. We should always consider the suffering of Jesus whenever we suffer, because we deserve far greater suffering than what we endure.

We must try whether we can endure brow-beating, weariness, slander, jeering, and hardship; and whether we can be made the off -scouring of all things, and be treated as nothing for Christ's sake. If we can endure all these, we have some of those points which indicate the possession of the rare qualities which should meet in a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

~ Lectures To My Students C.H Spurgeon.[1]

The Christian life is not a get out of jail free card. "If you believe in Jesus you will have no more problems." The seeker friendly Jesus is not the one in the word of God. Rather, we are called into a state of suffering.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

We are going to suffer more as Christians. We are to be in the world, not of the world. The world should hate you.

1 Peter 2:19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Not all suffering is suffering for Jesus' sake. It is a good thing to suffer for Jesus' sake, not to suffer needlessly. There isn't any credit for suffering because we sinned. You should not attribute all the suffering in your life as suffering for Jesus. But you should know that all suffering is suffering for a good end.

1 Tim. 4:10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

Expect and welcome suffering when it comes, and endure with thanksgiving. Not only will trials surely come to a Christian, but we are to rejoice through them. Expect suffering, because we live in a fallen world. Remember though, that God will never send you a trial because He enjoys watching you suffer. He is not a capricious god, like the "gods" of the Greeks or Romans, who enjoyed tripping up the mortals and causing them pain. God loves us, and uses our suffering for good.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God makes us perfect through trial. It is like exercising your muscles; you are in fact tearing them in order to build them up. We should rejoice, and accept whatever God gives us, whether it's trials or good things.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

God always provides a way to endure. He never brings us a trial that is impossible to endure.

Accept suffering from God, for it is a good thing. All things, including suffering, work together for good for those who love God;

For me, suffering is still that jackhammer breaking apart my rocks of resistance every day. It's still the chisel that God is using to chip away at my self-sufficiency and my self-motivation and my self-consumption. ~ Suffering and the Sovereignty of God - John Piper[2]

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We are to rejoice in our trials.

1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Our faith is tested and perfected by fire. We are to welcome suffering, and praise God in it, for He is refining us, perfecting us.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

We are to strive, knowing that it is God who works in us. (Phil. 3:8-9) Remember that this life is but a vapour, a shadow of things to come. After we suffer this little while God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

We are to look toward the prize set before us. And it will be so much greater than the good things of this world. Your suffering is temporal, your reward is eternal. We are to strive, in faith through trials, for His glory.

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.


Suffering is not a bad thing. We can hold onto the truth that God has a good plan and a good purpose for our suffering.

Knowing the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God in suffering does not mean we can go up to people who are going through a tragedy and tell them this. It is something for us to know personally. Then, in His time, God will use the things we have suffered to refine us, to bring good things, to help those who are suffering through similar trials.

I know that I will suffer, and when I do, I pray that our Lord will bring my attitude back into conformity with His word. I pray that I will remember that my suffering is temporary, but will produce a far greater glory. God is Sovereign over Suffering, and it will end.

Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.


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[1] Lectures To My Students, Lecture II The Call To Ministry - C.H Spurgeon p. 38-39

[2]~ Suffering and the Sovereignty of God - John Piper

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that post, just what I needed at the time I needed it!


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