I have been hearing from the Holy Spirit over the past week that He has been reminding me that the servant is not greater than their master. Coupled with this is the renewed emphasis on the revelatory truth, that those who desire to follow Jesus will have to share in his sufferings. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to us that the fiery trails that we encounter are to be expected and should be embraced. The rocky roads that we walk as we follow our Saviour must be a time of rejoicing, giving thanks at all times that Jesus reckons us worthy of sharing in his trails.
But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13
Here is the truth. To share in Christ sufferings is to be tempted as he was. It also means we have to carry for a time; sickness. Christ suffered on the cross that we would be free from sin. On Calvary Jesus carried our sin, sickness, illnesses, curses and all the effects of the 'fall.' Can we not accept that in sharing Christ sufferings we are given a 'taste', a 'nano taste' of these sufferings?
I do not believe many of us really understand the truth of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. All too readily we have assumed that it means only persecution and because we, by and large do not suffer rejection, have a warped idea of the above verse. Meaning that when Christ in his love shares a 'pinch' of his suffering, yoking us together, we sulk. We pout and grizzle. Rather we should count it all blessing and rejoice that we have been chosen to walk hand in hand with Christ, sharing his wounds, that we may be resurrected.
The story of Job is not only just a story; for it can very easily become our story. Jesus said to Simon Peter that Satan wishes to sift all of the disciples in Luke 24. We who are called disciples of the Christ may also be called out to be sifted. Do we not pray in the so called 'Lords Prayer;' lead us not to the test? this is the better translation of Matthew 6:13. This assumes that there will be times when we are called aside to be tempted as Job was. Testing; sharing in Christs sufferings is part and parcel of our discipleship of Christ as Hebrews 12 speaks co clearly and lovingly to us.
There is a verse in Hebrews 5 that should be compulsory study by all believers
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered
These revelations have been coming to me as I walk through my prostate cancer experience.
Of course, there will be those who despite the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of Gods word will remain under the oppressive hand of the enemy with no release for years, decades even. To those who find themselves in this position may I remind you that Gods love still surrounds you. It may that you need to forgive, that you most certainly need to repent and refocus on the love and goodness of the Father. Dwelling on ones circumstances nullifies the power of God and the cutting edge of the word. This focus on our troubles even in our cries and prayers will only fall to the ground.
Through our sharing in Christs sufferings we need to remember that, walking through the valley of the shadow of death, is only for a season; for in due time we will lifted up. The due time is in the hands of our Father. I was touched by reading another word on-line. that mentioned the lame man, who encountered Peter and John at Gate beautiful, recorded in Acts. He would have been, most likely sitting in the same spot when Jesu walked by many times. Yet the time was not right for Jesus to heal him. This is worth pondering on.
I want to know Christyes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, Philippians 3
This is good, really good. We want what we want when we want it under our terms and if that's not what happens we throw a tantrum or even deny God's existence. The only answer I have to the question of why we experience suffering in this world, which all of us do eventually, is that we live in a fallen world. I think it comes down to this. Am I going to be a victim of my circumstances or a victor over them through Jesus Christ? I want to be the latter, John. I want to run well regardless of the obstacles along the way.
Great word John, and not just because I am going through a medical situations myself, much as you are, but just as a message all by itself.
So many of us here at CB, over the years, have faced the core of this blogs message. Now it is our turn, eh.
A couple months ago I told myself that I was going to study up on Job, and never did. Think it might be time to actually do so. Important to remember, while doing so, that the Apostle James remembered the acts of Job, and praised him for his perseverance!
James 5:11 - As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Thank you John. This is as already said really, really good. I want it now and not God's timing. People do not preach on sharing in the sufferings of Christ today. The early church counted it joy. Your encouragement is a true blessing.
I would add, from personal revelation, that some folk are lambs, victim souls, with prophetic, symbollic ailments or sufferings, like Hosea with his wife that represented a much worse church than today with idols it physically worshipped. Poor Hosea! God told him to love her... Hosea represented Jesus. Today such things occur but I don't believe every soul is called to that level, but that in any case if you believe for and pray for and press for your healing you will eventually get it, even if you have to go to heaven to get it.