Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rejoice in Suffering

This past weekend I was reminded of an excellent lesson! It's a sermon I've heard since I was little, but like my pastor said on Sunday... it is literally the most unnatural thing possible: to have joy while your suffering. 

The myth that our world has created is that you should always be happy.

The truth is God uses personal suffering to accomplish His greater purpose of making you more like Christ. 

We looked at the passage Romans 5:1-5. I especially liked that it connected back to James 1:2. My favorite things about both of these passages is that it talks about how the suffering is creating endurance. Endurance is a word, that especially athletes, we hear all the time. You condition to build endurance, you train to build endurance -- and in your Christian walk, you go through trials to build endurance. I looked up the definition of endurance and it states that it is "the ability or strength to continue or last." I think this means actual physical strength, as well as, the mental strength. Do you have the endurance to outlast the suffering? 

We should be allowing the suffering to drive us closer to God, rather than giving up, pushing him away, and asking "why me?" In order to share in God's glory, we must go through suffering and we should rejoice through it. My favorite part of the James passage is in verse 4 where it's talking about growing your endurance: "So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." Now I'm not sure if I'll ever get to that point where I feel my endurance is fully developed (years of sports have taught me that), but I do know the feeling of when you're in shape... your endurance is high. I desire for my spiritual endurance to be "in shape" and one way I can begin accomplishing that is giving glory to God - no matter my circumstances.

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