Series: Do we REALLY believe?
Download – THOUGHTS & QUESTIONS
Thinking through Suffering …a Dialogue
This week we focused on questions 13 & 14 in our ‘Thoughts and Questions’ list which is downloadable by the link above.
These questions address God’s purposes in tests and trials and how they work for our maturity and to prepare us as His abiding place forever.
Again, our goal and intention in doing this is to allow this dialogue format to help us think through these questions and so help solidify much of what we have been teaching since the beginning of the year.
Key passages we’ve covered which touch on these topics:
- 2Cor. 4:6-11 – Suffering, Jesus formed in us
- Ephesians 1:1-11 – holy, blameless, in Christ, Created for good works
- Ephesians 1:19-22 – Temple, tabernacle, dwelling place
- Phil. 3:7-14 – Knowing Him, faith, maturity in Christ
- James 1:2-4 – Trials
- James 1:12-18 – Temptations, life
- James 2:18&20 – Faith, works
- 1Peter 1:6-9 – Trials, soul salvation, faith
- 1Peter 4:12-19 – Trials, glory, Christian suffering
- Heb. 10:13 – Temptations
- Heb. 10:35-39 – Need for faith, patience, life
- Heb. 12:1-14 – sin, weights, maturity, chastening, righteousness, holiness
One message which touched on MUCH of these things was ‘Suffering…who for the Joy’.
Thoughts & Questions:
13. What does all of this have to do with God’s intentions for us in eternity?
God desires to enjoy eternity with us. We are…you as an individual are His special creation. Every part of you was in His heart from eternity past.
We can only contemplate in a fleeting and superficial way – the depth of His love and desire for us. He has loved us with an everlasting love and has drawn us near with cords that bind us to Him in eternal and mutual adoration.
He literally finds His pleasure in you!
As such, eternal union with the Godhead is what we were designed for, and so it stands to reason that this is both His intentions for us (as He clearly tells us) and it is the apex of all that would bring lasting joy and satisfaction to our whole being!
This time of testing, trial, temptation & persecution are a proving ground. It tests our allegiance to Him. We are not yet perfected or fully mature, but there is only one kind of heart that even can be. There is a principle of loyal allegiance in the heart of Believers which must be tested and proved regularly. We’ve compared this process to testing the strength and purity of metal, but unlike metal or hearts do not remain unchanged from day to day. Peter tells us that this testing of our faith is a proving of its genuineness.
This is pivotal – God does not want to play make believe with you. If you want Him for an eternity, you are going to illustrate that now in this life by the choices you make.
Will you… Do you choose Him above and if necessary to the exclusion of all else?
When we are inwardly frustrated over our own lack of commitment and follow through, in honoring Him… though we fail, our determination to continue on, pressing harder into Him, rearranging and even removing things from our life to facilitate honoring Him… these all display a genuineness to our love for Him… our devotion towards Him. We will not be perfect in this life, but if we are truly “passing these tests” we will be walking closer and more true to our confession as the days turn to weeks, months and years.
God was serious when He said that without holiness no one would see Him. He will not settle for part of you. It’s either all or nothing.
This time of testing and trial not only serve to prove where your heart is in this commitment, if your heart longs for true loyalty, these tests and trials actually help work you towards that goal.
14. If you were going to have to explain the role suffering plays in forming Christ in you, to a Sunday School of 6th graders…how would you explain it?
Suffering is that part of life which creates needed change through adversity. One of the most effective physical training one can do is resistance training. One of the exercises in resistance training is to do a workout motion and at the peak of muscular strain hold your position for a while. It often requires two people to accomplish. Resistance builds strength.
The processes of testing and trails are NOT entirely unlike physical growth. Growing bones and muscles can be painful. It is accompanied by great inner hunger, large amounts of exhaustion and an achiness that wears away at you.
It makes you unsettled and agitated, clumsy and uncertain… but eventuates in your maturity.
This results in a “new you” that looks more like your mature parents than like a toddler. It is a process which is NECESSARY for your health, development and even your happiness and contentment.
I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.
We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.
You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!
If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.
If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.