Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation.
John Jay - First US Supreme Court Chief Justice
Wednesday's Word: Suffer

Wednesday's Word

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Thursday, October 18, 2018


Here’s a situation where I think the mis-interpretation of Scripture has had a lasting skewing effect of what life is really supposed to be.

Here’s The Word;

Psalm 23:1 – 6 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

If you’ve grown up in or around church, these are six verses that you become very familiar with, very early on. The regrettable part is that it’s SO captivating and desirable in its rhythm and flow that we immediately anchor ourselves to the idea that “This is what life is supposed to be like”.
I believe that this is one of the main verses that birthed the “Prosperity Gospel”, promoting the belief that we should have everything we want, never experiencing fear or lack, seeking to shock our enemies with how God blesses us, and everything will be all good for me, ‘as it is in Heaven.’

But to that I say, – Do yourself a favor and go read the chapter before that, Psalm 22. When you come back…let’s talk.

Thing is, when we isolate Scripture, we lose context. This leads to confusion in regards to our life experiences. We don’t know how to make sense of suffering. We tend toward one extreme or the other: We think that God is either actively punishing us, or we’ve made Him SO mad that He’s no longer listening. We fail to embrace that there’s a good side to suffering.

Here’s The Word;

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Define suffering.

What’s the last situation in which you suffered? Are you suffering now?
Trust me, I don’t mean to be condescending, some people are indeed suffering right this very minute:
Relationships that have gone sour presenting immediate as well as lasting consequences.
Employment situations that push us mentally to the brink of depression.
Worrisome financial matters that don’t seem to have an end in sight.
Physical ailments. The list goes on. This world offers more than a few relatable situation where “suffering” is the appropriate description.

God’s word speaks to our suffering – we can suffer adversity and persecution. We can suffer as a consequence of our faults, as well as corporate or individual tribulations. We usually lump our sufferings all together and label them ‘trials and tribulations’. Even still, we play up the tribulations and downplay the trials. I think if we learned to embrace the trials aspect, we’d have better opportunity to consider the good of our suffering. Seeing them as the necessary thing to prove and build our faith, rather than just trying to not “give up” until they’ve run their course.

Attaining to a higher view of our circumstances will widen our understanding of “suffering for righteousness”.

Again, here’s another one of those ideas that we pigeon hole to meaning one thing; “suffering for righteousness” means being mocked or ridiculed with hostility as we try and let our witness shine.
This is a short-sighted view.
The Bible uses the word suffer in a few different ways – in its context it may mean tolerate, allow, or endure.
Think of those words with the idea of God growing your faith as you remain obedient during the trials of life. If we're honest, we're ALL used to taking control, but God, in our sanctification, allows situations where we’re not in control, the suffering for our increased righteousness involves us “enduring” through it, meaning – growing in patience and trusting that God WILL work it out in HIS way and in HIS time to a resolution that may look worlds different than anything we had in mind. That’s suffering for righteousness sake. Suffering is not just being harassed by an outward situation, it’s also the inward resisting of handling things your own way and letting God have His way in resolving your outside as well as your inside.

Here's The Word:

1 Corinthians 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Philippians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

There’s a link between suffering, obedience and the strengthening of faith that results. – This connection is usually lost because of how we define suffering. The more we examine ourselves, the more we see the need to build up or faith. Build up our trust in God by the suffering that comes from denying ourselves. Denying giving in to old desires, old ways of thinking, old ways of just leaning to our own understanding. The strength that allows us to grow in our commitment to continue in well doing in areas that would’ve usually caused us to enter into contention and conflict, rather than realize a growing Christ-likeness.

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

I try not to beat these dead horses for too long. I also don't like walking away from things feeling like I may have caused more confusion than clarity. Pray for me.
At the end of it all. If we belong to Christ, and we're growing in Him, our sufferings can be a beautiful thing. Trust me, I know how contrary that sounds but if we focus on what He's making instead of how it's life changing.
In closing, make sure that Psalm 23, as beautiful as it is, hasn't given you rose colored glasses. There's always Psalm 22 and others to help us see rightly.
If the picture at the top is confusing, I used it because of this following verse from Acts 5. It's where certain apostles were arrested and beaten for proclaiming the name of Jesus. I believe this can be seen two ways - first that they were just excited to suffer for Jesus. Secondly, they saw what they were becoming; men transformed, no longer afraid. Stronger faith. Having more joy in obedience than fear of suffering.
Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

....and that's reason to rejoice!

In Him,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, amen, & amen! With suffering there is growth while only strengthening our trust in the Lord.

Thanks Brotha for the "on time" word!

7:02 PM  

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