Monday, April 9, 2012

Suffering part I

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death – Philippians 3:10

The tomb is empty, Jesus took our sin upon Himself in death upon the cross, but rose again in power.  I hope that you celebrated with your friends and family on Resurrection Sunday.  While His death is a somber occasion because it was our sin that put Jesus on the cross, in His resurrection we are guaranteed a new life with Him.  Jesus came to make all things new, starting with our hearts.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the “resurrection power;” however, I almost never hear it preached about in its context.  I think that’s unfortunate, because it is doing the church a disservice by holding back on bits and pieces of the Bible.  One of the biggest parts that gets held back or made less important (at least here in America) is suffering.  I believe this it is a disservice to hold this information back from new believers, the reason I believe this is because hard times will come.  It’s a cruel world, but Jesus is always good.  We cannot afford to teach new believers that if they come to Jesus, all of their problems will be taken care of, they will be blessed, and that they will prosper financially.  Yes, through Jesus, we do receive blessing, He does promise He will take care of our needs, and He has plans to prosper us.  But that does not mean that all who come to Christ will drive nice cars, live problem free, have perfect health, and live in luxurious homes.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against praying for healing, we should pray for healing (James 5:14).  God is our Healer, He created the human body and knows every little detail and is able to heal our bodies to the uttermost.  But when a physical ailment does not get healed, does that make God any less good?  By no means!  He is still good.  He has cured us of the ultimate disease, sin and we will not face eternal death.

We should pray for what we need, James 4:2 says that we do not have because we do not ask.  But James 4:3 says that when we do ask, we ask with the wrong desires in our heart. It’s not that God doesn’t want give us good things, it is because He wants to give us His best.  When God does not fulfill our prayers, it is because He’s got something better around the corner.

Notice that Paul doesn’t just stop at wanting to know the power of Jesus’ resurrection, but that Paul would share in the sufferings of Jesus, even to the point of becoming like Jesus in death.
I urge you brothers and sisters do not stop at merely knowing the power of His resurrection.  Upon accepting Jesus, we have accepted an enemy in Satan who tries to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  When we were in darkness, the world looked us over.  But now that we have the light of Christ, the world hates us (John 3:19-21).

This walk is not going to be easy.  But we have a wholly loving, Holy God, who is always good walking with us.

To be continued…

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