Good Morning Friends
Today we will continue with our lesson in our series of "Forgetting What Is Behind". Today we will conclude our lesson on "Pain and Suffering". Thank you for joining me and let me know your thoughts about this blog. you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email off of our website www.reachingthebroken.org Lets get started:
The Big Question “WHY:?
Why should the gospel, the only message in the world to offer the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ, make suffering mandatory for Christians?
We (you and I) don’t like to think about our personal pain and sufferings as a potential pathway for God to transform and change us into His image. We can get blindsided in some ways by believing in a too easy gospel that does not cost us anything. “Oh, by the way, becoming a Christian means you will be well acquainted with affliction and persecution." Paul forewarned Timothy: "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim. 3:12).
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12). When we are asking “WHY” we are really questioning God. Arguing with him really, because we feel it is unfair that we are going through certain trials.
Our priorities are not God’s
We tend to look at the problem of pain and suffering in terms of physical comfort and material possessions. We want physical health, freedom from physical pain and enough material possessions to live comfortably. I don’t think these things are God's ultimate priorities.
I believe God desires for us to have "good" things. But I don’t think his primary concern is about our physical circumstances. I believe his primary concerns are:
1. Our eternal salvation (first)
2. Our Spiritual growth and maturity (second)
3. Our usefulness in the kingdom of God. (third)
In God's view our physical and emotional circumstances do not take priority even though he cares and loves us deeply. What really matters is:
1. Our relationship with him
2. Our eternal life
3. Our effectiveness in the kingdom of God
He wants us to find relationship with Him through his son Jesus Christ, and to gain that eternal life, no matter what our circumstances may be. If painful circumstances will cause us to give up our self-reliance and cry out to him, then he may allow those circumstances or even bring them on.
Jesus came to offer us "abundant" life. But he was not talking about physical abundance or even physical comfort. He was talking about abundance in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We tend to look at the short term. God looks at eternity. We tend to be caught up in the moment. For God 1,000 years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8).
God could see "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow" (1 Peter 1:11). Paul was also able to see suffering in God's time scale. "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
This will conclude lesson 6 on pain and suffering for today. Now we will begin with lesson 7 entitled "forgetting what is behind". We will look deeper into Philippians 3:13 that says..Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We never totally forget our past but this is not what Paul is trying to convey to us. He is pointing out that we can be free from the pain and power of our past but still remember. So let's begin...
Everyday when you drive in your car you face a big windscreen in front of you that allows you to look where you need to go. You also have a smaller rear view mirror that enables you to see what is coming up behind you. There is a reason why the rear view mirror is smaller than the front windscreen. While driving, you are to spend the majority of your time looking ahead through the front windscreen rather than looking backwards through the small rear view mirror.
When it comes to our personal lives some of us have it the other way around. We spend far too much time looking out the rear view mirror at where we have been rather than looking ahead at where we are going. What about you?
Are your thoughts dominated by your past or is your thinking focused on the future? We all have something in our past that we could get discouraged by and allow to steal our joy but we must not allow our past to steal our future. Thank God for the success of the past and for giving us the grace to come through the difficult circumstances of the past but we must follow Paul’s example and forget what lies behind so we can strain forward to what lies ahead.
We are going to break down our Scripture Verse in Philippians 3:13-14 into 5 parts: Our first one is;
God has a goal in mind for our life…See you next week. thank you for reading.
Many blessings to everyone