Monday, October 29, 2012

have you suffered? be thankful.

suffering is one of those things that is much easier to be thankful for in hindsight.  so do just that.... look back and be thankful.  it will also help in your current trials.

one of the main reasons i am thankful is because i don't know any strong christians who haven't suffered deeply.  and i mean real suffering... not first world problems like "starbucks got my order wrong", "my parents wont let me stay out late", "i don't have enough money to send my kids to ballet AND karate" or "i have lots of exams to study for and i might not get all A's this semester".

meditate on this:

"whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God" 1 peter 4:1-2

so as to live... no longer for human passions

the suffering that we endure takes our eyes off of the mist that is this life on earth.  we see how silly and fleeting they are.  suffering has been used in my life to cast off the desire for the appearance of a perfect life.  i am more willing to be honest about the brokenness, the sin, the failures.

i also have less and less desire to run after things that people around me run after.  in the past few years, God has greatly decreased my desire to eat a perfect diet, have the latest, fashionable clothes, have a perfect looking, squeaky clean house or a financially secure future.  these are not bad things in and of themselves.  but i don't want them as the main thing.  i want jesus as the main thing.

so as to live... for the will of God

the parallel to God decreasing my desire for these things is him increasing my desire to know, love and do his will.  i love sanctification more than personal satisfaction, which is why i have been happy to give up many of my personal desires in the process of knowing God better.  for example, we really want to adopt.  but by God grace i am excited about the role he has us playing in the life of our foster baby's mother, even though it means she is likely not adoptable.

alex and i have lots of hopes and dreams for the future (such as adopting lots of children, owning a large piece of land and living overseas).  and because we think it will glorify God, we have confidence that God will grant these things. but if he doesn't we are ok with that.  because we don't desire these things for our sake, but for his.

so... have you suffered deeply?  if not, i think that it may be wise to pray that you would, for the sake of His name.

as AW Tozer wrote, "it is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly before he has hurt him deeply".

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