How can we overcome great suffering in this world victoriously? How can we stand firm in a world that’s shaking violently? As the entire world has its eyes transfixed on the possibility of nuclear war, the fear of global warming, and the destruction of democracies due to inherent corruption, they are missing the sudden rise in major earthquakes around the world. They are missing the destabilization of world governments, the rise of disenfranchised people that are rioting in the streets, and the crumbling foundations of all religions, especially Christianity. They are missing the tactics of Satan to destroy God’s children by stripping them of their eternal hope, heighten their fear of the unknown, and to embrace their own selfish interests. In this article, we will learn how to regain our eternal hope, dispel all fear, and embrace the power of living for others and not for self. To do so my friend will not only help you stand firm in the coming days, but it will allow you to fellowship in the suffering of Christ and experience the power of His resurrection.
Let’s begin with an overarching premise, that when our eyes are turned onto ourselves then all of our sufferings are amplified. On the other hand, when we look at the life of Jesus Christ, we see something radically different. His entire life was lived serving others. Some of His most basic needs were ignored for the sake of His ministry to others. His ministry to others in selfless service was always paramount. When He was interrupted by His own dear mother and brothers, He chose to continue serving others putting His followers on the same level as His own biological family (See Matthew 12:46-50). Everything our Lord did it was for others, to fulfill His mission. The Bible says He was tired from a long journey (See John 4:1-45), no doubt hungry and thirsty as well, but instead of following His disciple to town to get food, He stayed behind sitting on the well waiting to encounter the woman who was coming to draw water; a woman heaped in sin and past failures, a woman who needed what He was prepared to give her, a new life free from the agony of past failures and deep heartbreaks. This was His food and strength to do the Father’s will by proclaiming the truth and serving others. This was the suffering that the Apostle Paul wanted to fellowship in, to draw strength from helping others.
This is the key that would turn the world upside down. No longer would humanity just be selfishly concerned about their own welfare, but now everyone would be concerned about helping, giving, serving, and loving others. In every case He let nothing deter Him from His ministry to others thereby setting it forth as an example for those who would follow Him and do likewise (See Luke 9:57-62). In every case, our Lord gave us an example of living solely for others and not for self. You can notice an air of disappointment from Jesus when after three years His disciples still could not understand the importance of His mission in serving others. They could not fathom the amount of pain that He was suffering as He drew ever closer to the Cross knowing full well all that He would endure. He would not be suffering for just a few hundred people, but His suffering would be for all the people in the world for all of time. To make the ultimate sacrifice, to give His life as a ransom for all of humanity to fulfill the will of His Father in heaven. This is the first step in learning how to become victorious over suffering; to be so focused on serving others that we don’t allow our suffering to overcome us. This is the will of the Father.
The Apostle Paul clearly understood this when he said that he wanted to know the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (see Philippians 3:10). Even when I look from afar, I cannot imagine suffering as much as Jesus Christ. Perhaps a good place to start for most Westerners, who have not had to deal with excessive physical persecution is the constant bombardment of very mean-spirited people and demeaning rhetorical abuse that Jesus Christ needed to endure from the religious elite. Not to mention the fact that He was also accused of being in league with the devil and freely practiced magical arts to garner His following. That alone would send most of us into full-blown attack mode or full unfettered retreat leaving one’s followers to be ravaged by the Satanic inspired religious elite. And if all this were not enough, the physical and psychological persecution was soon to come from beating him with a glass and rock-laden whip that would rip the skin from His back to giving Him a crown of thorns and a kingly robe to openly mock Him before others. Remember what the Apostle Paul said that he wanted to know the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. Let me say, when we do, we will learn to overcome our suffering victoriously.
The second step in dispelling fear and overcoming our pain victoriously is to know the power of the resurrection. This must be an intimate knowledge of the resurrection through faith, believing that Jesus Christ did arise from the grave and is now seated in Heaven with His Father. It is the intimate knowledge of being caught up to the spiritual realm through the indwelling Spirit, to experience a foretaste of things to come. When we do, it will take our minds and emotions away from our present suffering to the promise of the resurrection and eternal life. This is exactly what we see in Jesus Christ. He had just endured the most excruciating pain of having large rusty nails driven through His hands and feet and then hung on a Cross to die an agonizing death. What did He say? He told John to watch after His mother as his own (See John 19:26-27). He forgave His tormentors for what they had done to Him (See Luke 23:34) and then He told the thief on the cross who believed in Him, that they would both be in paradise today (See Luke 23:43). When we focus our mind on the promise of the resurrection and loving service to others then we will overcome all pain victoriously. That is the power of the resurrection.
Humanity has once again fallen into the pit of selfishness. There is no wonder why there is so much pain in the world. So many drugs to dull the senses. So many counselors attempting to pick up the broken pieces. Let me be very clear. To know the power of the resurrection and to experience the fellowship of His suffering will not diminish the pain but it will give us strength and power to see it through to the end. I am afraid we live in a time when Christians are not taught how to go through the pain and suffering victoriously. Rather they are being taught to look for the big escape. They are taught that when things start to get really bad then we will all escape in the sky in the secret rapture. Oh, we will have the rapture, but it will not be secret, for every eye shall see. (See Revelation 1:7). It will be in the twinkling of an eye at the end of the age, for that is our true hope. Things are already bad and only getting worse, so it’s time to learn how to stand firm. It’s time to put others first in loving service. It is time to stay focused on their needs and stop focusing on our own selfish desires. It’s time to know the power of the resurrection by embracing its eternal hope. Let us say with the Apostle Paul, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). Amen.
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