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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Accept Suffering

We know that Jesus suffered for us, but a lot of times we don't correlate that Jesus's death and resurrection was an example for us to emulate.

Our culture tells us that it's important to get a good education, having a nice job, and make a lot of money in order to live in a big expensive house, drive a luxurious car, and buy other luxuries. There's nothing about suffering that bit. Oh sure, it's accepted that sacrifices in college will be made for a future life of luxury, but that's about it. After that it should be smooth sailing and life should be enjoyed to the fullest, cramming it with every whim and desire. Because of that mindset that is blatantly against God's will for the life of a Christian, we tend to mix that with our Christian mindset, not even realizing it. We know it's wrong, but it becomes intertwined with our viewpoint when we complain about not getting that job we want, that relationship, that promotion, that degree, that house, that car, etc. We grow weary when we can't have that child we so desire or a clean bill of health. We're sick of not being happy and having that cloud hang over our heads. If only we had that one thing, we'd be happy. And it's this attitude that comes literally from Satan.

This is what Jesus said about his future suffering:

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." - Matthew 16:21-23

Jesus accepted that it was God's will for Him to be killed, though he was innocent and had done nothing wrong. He did not fight it. He accepted it and treated it just as if it were a normal activity. Peter couldn't accept God's will for Christ though and encouraged Christ that this was not a good way to think. Jesus's response revealed that Peter's denial of submitting to God's will was an attitude that only came from Satan.

Satan wants us to believe that we deserve to be happy and shouldn't have to suffer. He wants us to feel miserable until we get that one thing we desire and the misery is over with. But that's not God's will for us. His will is to accept that times of suffering will come to every believer and to accept and endure it, just as Jesus did. This is God's will for us, and anyone who opposes this doctrine or who resists submitting to God's will of suffering for their life is acting against God.

Suffering isn't enjoyable. It's not supposed to be, but it's supposed to draw us even closer to God. During times of suffering, it's hard to accept it and continue to bear the burden, and sometimes we just can't muster the strength to do so. It's in these times that we remember that Christ accepted suffering though He had done no wrong. He was perfect. He didn't deserve it. In a way, we deserve any suffering that comes our way as we are still sinners who sin on a daily basis. On the other hand, we can take heart that oftentimes suffering doesn't come because we have committed a certain sin that deserves suffering as punishment; rather, if Jesus had to suffer punishment He did not inflict upon Himself, then so must we.

So what will your attitude be when suffering comes? It's coming, and you should prepare to accept it with a humble attitude, which pleases the Lord.