Suffering for God’s Glory

Suffering is the result of  disconnection from our own true self and from the one in whose image we have been created, God – our father. God loves fellowship and so do we being HIS children. We need to be connected to our fullness that is found in Christ who is our head and King. Once we are away from Christ’ fellowship we suffer and long for his presence since we are not meant to be alone.

Jesus said to his disciples This world will make you suffer but take heart, I have defeated the world”.  As long as we are in this world, sufferings are inevitable but God, according to his promise that all things work together for those who love the Lord”, uses sufferings to turn us into the image of his beloved son Jesus Christ.

If we remain connected to Christ during the period of suffering, we will not be affected by the negative power that follows suffering. Christ and HIS powerful presence will cover us as an armour and HIS grace will become our standing ground.  The one who said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” is indeed our suffering partner.  Jesus appeared to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into blazing furnace to protect them, and since our Jesus never changes and remain the same always, He is standing at the door of your furnace of affliction, ready to jump into the fire for you at your invitation. Being with Christ in fire of affliction is better than being on your own elsewhere.

Leaning on Christ when it’s hard to do so, produces fruits of perseverance and deep trust on his power. Our knowledge about our King  gets stronger with every passing day and this knowledge is the same as the glory of God’s likeness that shines through the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Once suffering has finished its course, the result will come in the form of an immeasurable peace and an incomprehensible and  unheard revelation about Christ’ glory. That is – In Christ alone lies our strength.

The future glory is ready to be revealed in us by our Lord. Let’s open our eyes and be filled with more of Christ and less of ourselves.

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Do you want to follow Christ?

In Mark 10: 17-23, A rich young man comes to Jesus and asks him “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, Then come and follow me”.

Go When the Lord sends, he equips with his own word of power for human strength cannot achieve God’s purpose. When the Lord speaks, it turns into reality to whom the word is spoken. In John 14:7 Jesus said to his disciples, “If you really knew me you would know my Father as well. FROM NOW ON YOU DO KNOW HIM AND HAVE SEEN HIM“. In the above verses Jesus’ word that the disciples would know the father turns into reality the moment it was spoken. The Lord continued in next part by saying “From now on you know him”. Along the same principle, When the Lord asks someone to Go, HIS command to go turns into reality  and that person is filled not only with a zeal to go and work for the Lord but also with an immeasurable supply of strength from the one who is the origin and source of all power and might.

Sell everything – Matthew 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Our treasure is not made up of the thighs that we possess but rather the things that control and possess us – things that take up our time and efforts, for what entraps our heart and captivates our mind, becomes our treasure.

Jesus is asking to sell EVERYTHING. Selling involves two parties – buyer, seller, and some sort of exchange between them. Christ is asking you and me to make Christ our invisible buyer, to sell  the things that have enslaved us for long. Christ is willing to purchase them for a price. The price is precious, and it comes in the form of freedom – True freedom. But it is only for those who are willing to sell EVRYTHING to the Lord.

Give to the poor – Once the Lord has granted freedom to us by taking everything away that was keeping us busy, we become indebted to share this freedom with those who have piled up false treasure for themselves, treasure that has no value in the sight of the Lord. It becomes our responsibility to share the good news of freedom with them so that they may receive the same gift of freedom from the Lord as we have received.

You will have treasure in heaven The more we give to the poor, the richer we become in Lord’s sight. Sometimes, we don’t see the fruit of our labour for a long time, but the word says that nothing you have ever done for Lord’s service will ever go wasted”. All we could do is to trust and sow the seed of the word in all seasons. Let’s put in our best efforts to turn the freedom we have received from the Lord into freedom for all.

Then come and follow me – The Lord says “Once you have done your part and spread the word of freedom, then come back to me to receive more from me. You don’t need to do anything in my presence, just listen and receive. The more you practise listening to me, the more you will learn to trust me. Unless you have built a trust relationship with me, you can’t follow me. Once you begin to follow me, you don’t need to worry about anything. I will take care of everything, just FOLLOW ME”

Purpose driven weakness

2 Cor. 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Has anyone heard of a God who says that my strength is made perfect in the weakness of my people. Christ said to Paul when Paul prayed for a certain situation to be removed from his life. Christ answered by saying that “my grace is all you need for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Is Christ denying an answer to Paul’s prayer by saying Paul you won’t get what you are asking for but all you will receive is my grace?  Christ was saying that there was a purpose behind Paul’s weakness. And that was – when Paul was weak because of unanswered prayers, failures, persecutions, then Christ’ strength was made perfect.

Paul said, “I will rejoice over my weaknesses for when I am weak then I am strong“. Paul’s failures or unanswered prayers don’t frustrate him since Christ has given a new name to Paul’s weakness. – Paul’s weakness is Christ’ strength. Christ told Paul that you not only glorify my name by thanksgiving in response to the prayers answered but also by accepting my authority over your unanswered prayers and weaknesses.

Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, makes things meaningful by giving them a new name.  Christ is making Paul’s weakness meaningful by calling it by a new name .  We feel frustrated to see that the works of our hands are not producing desired results. Christ replaces this human frustration by adding a degree of his glory, in the form of strength to our failures –  making our failure an essential component of the strength of HIS glory.

God is God since HE is perfect. Then, why perfect God is willing to exchange his glory with our weakness. If our weakness is not present Christ denies to call his strength “perfect”. Christ, our high priest, knows the weak nature of humankind. He is also aware of the perfection of God’s power and strength. Since Christ is our mediator, He looks at our weakness, measures it and replaces it not with Human strength but with the perfect strength of God. We carry Christ ‘ glory, both in our strength and in our weaknesses.

Are you feeling depressed today to see a multitude of unanswered prayers? Do you feel weak to see one failure after another in your life? Take heart! Christ has given a new name  and a purpose to your failure, that His glory and strength will remain less than perfect without your weakness and failure.

Christ is asking you to make HIS strength perfect today by giving your weakness to HIM. Are you ready?