Suffering in God’s Will
Articles of Faith: Sanctification
We believe that sanctification is the process by which according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness, that it is a progressive work, that it is begun in regeneration, and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means, especially the word of God, self-examination, self-denial,watchfulness and prayer.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,
It is odd to have God’s will and suffering in the same sentence. We all go through so much in this world and it seems as if everyone is against us. We spend so much time asking “Lord why?” We look everywhere to find someone who will tell us why or to tell us it will get better. We look for someone to tell us that it doesn’t have to be this way. We search out those who have answers to make the suffering go away. At the very same time we often are looking for God’s will. This is because during our searching for ending the suffering, someone has told us that we are not in God’s will so we suffer. Someone of us have been told that if we are suffering its because we are out of His will. Others will say that it’s Satan himself attacking us. During this valleys of our lives we see those we deem as sinners, living the life we feel that we should have. Again, we can find those who will second that motion and claim to know how to give that to us.
We foolishly believe that it’s all about us and it’s not at all. What we endure is not at all about us or geared to disrupt us. Satan and his demons seek one thing and that is to rob God of his glory. How does a person who does not know God or care to worship God affect his glory? Not at all so why wreck their lives? The wrath of God is already on them and it is a waste of Satan’s time to harass them (Romans 1:18-25). With this in mind, Christians should really stop envying the wicked and start praying for them instead.
So how does any of this fits in with the will of God and our current sufferings? How does our trials and tribulations get into this misery that we endure from time to time? 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says that God’s will is that we be sanctified and what does it mean to be sanctified? To be sanctified is to be holy and how are we made holy? The process of sanctification is governed by the Holy Spirit as we renew our minds and no longer be conformed to this world. It is the process of denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following after Jesus Christ. It is not being ashamed of the Gospel. It is the process of killing sin in our life and bearing the fruits of righteousness. It is the process of living for Christ and Christ living for us and through us. Sanctification conforms us to the image of Christ and it was God’s will and purpose from the foundation of the world. Without following after this will of God, without delighting in this we will receive nothing else(Psalm 37:4, Matthew 6).
To be with God and for Christ it will for certain put us at odds with the world. This world culture and God are at odds as this is nothing in this world that agrees with God.
4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
1 John 2
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 3
13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[b] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
So the world attacks us and the demons of hell as well all to steal God’s glory. They attempt to show God as a lair and unfaithful. Satan attacks our integrity, our hearts and our treasures which usually lead right to our hearts as well as desires, pleasures, ambitions, source of contentment and discontentment. These sufferings, trials and tribulations are usually connected to pride, idolatry, covetousness, self reliance, disobedience and rebellion. Our suffering is because we are possessors of salvation and God has promised to not lose one. If anyone of us claim to not have these issues then the truth is not in us at all.
Job 1: 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
But just like Job even though we have these sins in our lives that doesn’t mean that our lives are without giving glory to God. And its the areas of our lives that bring God glory that Satan desires to destroy and these areas are the fruitful areas God wishes to grown and cultivate.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
So the Lord uses the attacks of the enemy to strengthen us and to encourage growth. Our sufferings brings us closer to God as we depend more and more on Him. Just as in Job’s case the removal of things refocused God as the center of his life. Just as Jesus in the wilderness as he was tempted called upon the word of God by way of the Holy Spirit. And it is the Holy Spirit that oversees the sanctification. So the things we go through are meant for evil but God uses those things for good for us in our sanctification.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
In our suffering, when we can rejoice because we know God is in control and it is God who is leading us through it we bring glory to God. We shine light on Jesus Christ and it promotes the Gospel to all who are watching. Our sanctification process, shows God’s faithfulness to keep us saved, it shows God’s love for Jesus and us as well as showing his grace and mercy. Job’s suffering also reminded me of who God was and is. It reminded Job and it will remind us of who is taking care of us. It reminds us of is deserving of all the praise and glory. Our suffering and sanctification reminds us to be humble and thankful.
1 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
Ultimately, all that we go through is for the glory of God. We share in the sufferings as we share the same cup which Christ drank from. How we deal with the suffering reflect on the God we say that we serve. How we deal with the suffering reflects on how well we know God and how well we think we know him. If you think being a Christian means an easy life, you are sadly mistaken. Our 1st century brethren spent their time being executed for believing in Jesus Christ. Allow you sufferings and trials to draw you closer to the Lord not further away. Don’t just pray but read and study the word of God… Seek God’s face.
1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
- We are ambassadors taking the good news to mankind (prayforyourcity.wordpress.com)
- Sanctified (mrsknack.wordpress.com)