I wish to begin this blog with an example of the author and finisher of our Faith; Jesus Christ himself. As he was coming to the close of his ministry there is a verse that sums up the attitude, that I believe he wishes us to bring into our struggles, sicknesses and tribulations. It is found in Luke 9:51 where the KJV reads ‘he set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem.’ Jesus faced the greatest hour of his trail with determination and conviction that God his Father would not let him down.
We have been given the mind of Christ; therefore we are to contend with God over our sickness with determination, conviction and utter belief that we will be healed. I have set out in my blog ‘Contending for our Healing – part two,’ the steps this entails. In my last blog I spelled out that negative attitudes have no place in our mind set when we are ill.
This blog sets out I believe the attitude we must cultivate during out sickness and tribulations. The bible calls this mind set as ‘rejoicing in our sufferings.’ There are countless scriptures that allude to this mindset, which in effect, is the mind that Jesus had. To many this is a foreign concept: to be glad and rejoice while we are suffering. Yet this is the attitude that we must develop as we grow in grace and change from glory unto glory.
This is manner of thinking is a process that the scriptures calls, aligning our mind with the mind of Christ. Be renewed in your mind is an admonition that we are called to achieve. Yes we have been redeemed and are justified, yet we are called to go forth in our Christian walk and form and develop new habits. One such habit is to rejoice and be glad when trails come upon us.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:6
By rejoicing we are opening up the storehouses of heavens blessings to be poured upon your head. Also we are forming a weapon that no enemy will overcome. Finally we are placing ourselves into a position to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Bible calls this rejoice in suffering our ‘reasonable service.’ We are an offering to God that has been placed on the altar of his love.
All week the Holy Spirit has been saying to me one word, that of ‘offering.’ At first I was confused as I took this to be a ‘burnt offering’ or one of the offerings outlined in Leviticus. But when the Holy Spirit joined the dots I realized that contending for our healing with rejoicing is an offering; a spiritual offering as outlined in Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This revelation has ‘blown my mind’ for it is not something that I could have come up with by my own mind. As we battle with our ailments and difficulties I urge you says the Holy Spirit to conduct yourself as an offering to God, holy and pleasing. Let us not be conformed to the thinking of the world in regards to suffering but renew your thinking, so that it becomes aligned with the word of God.
As an offering on the altar of suffering firstly we are preparing ourselves for the weight of glory to come for we are being made broken bread and crushed grapes for his communion. For as Christ learned obedience through suffering so to are we being transformed into the image of Christ so that when we see him we will closely identified with Him.
Secondly as an offering our suffering is filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the church. Our witness is not just for our glory but for the glory of our brothers and sisters; their encouragement and carrying the burden of their afflictions. Our wisdom, knowledge and empathy are strong bulwarks for our brethren.
Finally our offering is pleasing to God as was the offering of Abel.
Let us suffer well according to the word of God. But let’s do more than that – let us suffer with rejoicing in the midst of our illness. In this way we are an offering to God that is pleasing and acceptable to him. The world does not understand but we do, for we have the word of God made alive by the Holy Spirit.
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