“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.”
How many people do you know that stay calm, cool, and collected in the middle of superheated circumstances. I don’t mean the fake kind of calm that’s waiting to get home and fall apart or kick the dog, I mean calm to the very core.
“Heat and pressure force to the top what is inside of us. We can deny it all we want, but it’s the truth.”
Heat and pressure force to the top what is inside of us. We can deny it all we want, but it’s the truth. What spews out when we can’t control ourselves is what we are full of. No child of God will make it through life without extremely hard circumstances. We will never be conformed to the image of Christ without suffering.
Most people, when suffering comes, feel like God is angry with them or they have done something wrong. Suffering is a sign of sonship.
Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.
“Part of living on a planet that is dominated by sin means that we will suffer.”
Jesus had to be made “like us” in every way while He lived on the earth. Part of living on a planet that is dominated by sin means that we will suffer. Accept it as a fact and embrace it. Suffering is the fastest way to sanctification. People want to be spiritual giants without suffering. That will never happen. The fact Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience is proof we will also.
When Jesus went to the desert for forty days, he suffered. He was hungry, wild animals were there, and the devil tempted Him on a level we cannot imagine. Right before He went into the desert, He was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down on Him. Scripture says something interesting that could be easily missed.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit….
“He was filled with the Holy Spirit by God, but He experienced the power of the Spirit after intense suffering in the will of God.”
He was filled with the Holy Spirit by God, but He experienced the power of the Spirit after intense suffering in the will of God. I believe fasting and suffering put His human flesh in its place so it didn’t try to rise up and come between Him and God. We forget that Jesus was fully human as well as fully God.
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:1-2
“If the Son of God had to suffer in His perfection, how much do we need it in our sinful selves?”
Never doubt God has a plan for your life. The plan is to make you like Jesus through and through. We usually want to know God’s plan so we can enjoy His blessings. God wants to make us like Jesus so He can make Himself known every place we set our foot.
“Many people who call themselves Christians are spiritual whores and glory hogs.”
Many people who call themselves Christians are spiritual whores and glory hogs. They go from ministry to ministry, church to church, spiritual experience to spiritual experience for personal satisfaction, not for the glory of the Living God.
Until we get still and honest before God, we will never get past that reality. Admit it, we all want an easy button. We see people who exude the Spirit of God and we want what they have, we just don’t want to pay the price.
“Make no mistake, if you do not suffer, you do not belong to God.”
Make no mistake, if you do not suffer, you do not belong to God. If He is not bringing things into your life that cause you deep pain and panic, you need to check your salvation. If your life is completely manageable, I feel bad for you.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
Greek definition of discipline – instruction that trains someone to reach full development (maturity).
“God doesn’t come down here with a wooden spoon, He uses hardship to bring heat into our lives to perfect our character and let us share in His holiness.”
God doesn’t come down here with a wooden spoon, He uses hardship to bring heat into our lives to perfect our character and let us share in His holiness. Suffering is one of the greatest blessings God ever gives us. Nothing is more effective to make us what we were created to be. It removes the fake and shallow and allows us to become real.
We will never know who we are until we suffer. I am a killer and so are you. God has so faithfully loved me through suffering that I have no doubt without His Spirit I could be on death row for murder. Only God knows all the things that have gone through my mind and heart as He brought circumstances into my life that made me want to lie, cheat, kill, and steal. It’s so easy to judge people if you have never really suffered.
All I could do as I suffered was hang on every word that came out of the mouth of God and beg Him to burn everything out of me that wasn’t like Him. I knew what was happening to me because I read it in scripture.
“The heat and pressure made them fall apart instead of confidently trusting in Him.”
God delivered the Israelites and immediately let them run into the Red Sea with the Egyptian army closing in. The heat and pressure made them fall apart instead of confidently trusting in Him. I saw over and over again as He tested them, they failed.
As I continued through the Bible, I saw suffering in every single one of God’s most beloved servants. God used it to build their character. I saw the ones who let the fire perfect them and I saw the ones who let the fire destroy them. I was determined to let the fire perfect me. I just had no idea how much I needed burned out of me (and neither do you).
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
The Apostle Paul said those words. The man God used to preach the gospel to all of Asia. The man who said he would go to hell for his brothers if he could. How did a man void of goodness become so good? God’s Spirit + suffering + obedience transformed him. He saw for a fact he had nothing good in him even when he tried. He finally gave up any hope and let God be God through him. When that happened, he became like Jesus. No human would ever choose to be cut off from God for people who hated them but Jesus Christ. Yet we read this.
My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them.
“How did Paul reach the destination of pure love and selflessness? He suffered.”
Here is a short list of suffering in Paul’s life.
- He worked harder than anyone around him for the gospel and was talked about horribly and treated as an imposter
- Frequently in prison
- Faced death often
- Was flogged by the Jews five times
- Three times he was beaten with rods
- He was stoned once
- Shipwrecked three times
- Spent a night and day adrift in the ocean
Jim Caveziel, who portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, was accidentally scourged one time during filming. He collapsed and ended up with a fourteen inch gash. He said, “It froze my diaphragm, which was like getting the wind knocked out of you.”
He was hit only one time, Paul was lashed 39 times. That happened five separate times. I can only imagine what Paul’s back looked like by the end of his life. Keep in mind, Paul did nothing wrong. He was obeying God at every turn.
“Paul knew the treasure He had inside so God was free to let people do what they wanted to him.”
Paul knew the treasure He had inside so God was free to let people do what they wanted to him. Every lash, every stone thrown, and every visit to prison only proved to crucify Paul a little more so the life of Christ could shine bright.
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, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 corinthians 4:17-18
Our troubles are “achieving for us” what we could never do. They are giving us a glory that is eternal. No person would choose suffering, but we can embrace it as God brings it to us. We can love and praise Him in our suffering and be totally transformed.
“Child of God, thank Him for the things in your life you hate and can’t change.”
I found that my own sin nature, left unchanged by God, was at the root of all my pain and misery. Child of God, thank Him for the things in your life you hate and can’t change. He wants to use them to change you.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.