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Promises

Behind the Scenes #3—The Grace of Suffering

When you  face opposition, strive together for the faith of the gospel … that you suffer for his sake as I do … So then in my absence, be very careful  how you effect your deliverance, because God is at work among you, both to will and to work as he pleases. Philippians 1:25–2:13

God does not always express his grace in our lives in the same way. Sometimes we easily perceive the joyful good he intends for us. In the fellowship the Spirit creates, we experience the encouragement of God’s loving consolation and affection and compassion. But God sometimes graciously puts us in a place where we’ll suffer because of the gospel. Unfortunately, we often forget, in the face of opposition, that the other believers around us are not the enemy. And, forgetting that our primary task is not self-preservation, we act as though we are more important than anyone else around us. So we squabble with each other or we try to escape the situation. When Jesus was in similar situations, he demonstrated that we reach the pinnacle of life by traveling through the valley of suffering service, not bypassing it. So we must remember, as Jesus did, that we are in a dangerous situation, not by chance, but precisely because of God’s grace, that is because God is working from the joy in his life to create a corresponding joy in ours.

O God, as I labor with others for the sake of the gospel, heighten my awareness that you are working in and through me, so I will respond with confident humility as Jesus did.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes #3—The Grace of Suffering

  1. It is easy to forget in the face of evil that God is ever present to come to our rescue. On a camping trip with our family, we encountered three men who accused my two sons of causing them of loosing their fishing rods. They said that we owed them money and if we didn’t pay their exhorbatant amount they were threatening to beat the s*** out of us.
    We negotiated with the most reasonable man and were able to diffuse their anger.
    It is too easy to forget God’s help for us and attempt to solve things on our own.
    Why don’t we look to His strength to fight the evil around us first?

    Posted by James Moreschi | 29 April 2018, 10:15
    • You’re right, Jim. God is always present. And sometimes he rescues us, as he seems to have done with you as you graciously spoke with your opponents. But this kind of gracious response is a learned response. Paul’s congregation in Philippi hadn’t learned yet; hence, his letter of warning and encouragement. Hopefully this blog will help people learn what Paul wants us all to learn about standing together in Christ and emulating his humble and faithful life.

      Posted by Doug Knighton | 29 April 2018, 18:22
  2. Fellowship of believers, while an instant source of joy in Christ in the church family, is short-lived. “Be well and stay warm” might make your encounter with a homeless person allow warmth in your heart for the moment, but as soon as your handshake is given the coolness of detachment soon takes on a specific emptyness in the heart of the intentioned receiver, who remains homeless, hungry and cool of continued fellowship.

    Posted by James Moreschi | 1 May 2018, 05:33

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