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Good Suffering?

Good Suffering?

As we continue our study through the book of Romans, Paul is about to show us the way to finally overcome the flesh. He’s told us about the work of Christ on the cross. By identifying with Him, we count ourselves as dead to sin.

At that point, I’m a spiritual infant in God’s kingdom. I’m not where I should be yet. How do I deal with that? I want to be an adult son now.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:17

Maturity is something that takes time to develop. How do I live with this frustration of wanting to be mature right now? Nobody wants to wait to grow up.

This verse tells us that we’re co-heirs with Christ. It also tells us that if we’re co-sufferers with Him, we’ll be co-sharers of His glory.

This tells me that the suffering is what we go through to become adults. It’s not really what we want to hear. But, Paul goes on to explain it to us.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Paul literally says that according to his calculations, our present sufferings cannot even be compared with our future glory. Suffering is one of those topics we don’t want to talk about.

The truth is that we need to co-suffer, but it doesn’t compare to the glory.

What is this suffering that he’s talking about? First off, let me assure you that it’s NOT sickness, poverty, or depression.

The Bible actually lets us know where this suffering comes from.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24

The word, passion, in this verse is the same word as suffering in the Romans verse. The root of this word is passion, but it’s a passionate suffering. It’s like when something causes you to cry out, “I can’t take this anymore!” It comes from our sin nature. Why is this a good thing?

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Here’s another important word – comfort. In our modern culture, we think about someone putting their arms around us and saying, “There, there, it will be okay.” On the contrary, this word means to call alongside. It’s what a coach does when he trains his athletes.

The best illustration I’ve ever seen of the Holy Spirit’s comfort, was from a movie a few years ago. It’s called Facing the Giants. I encourage you to watch it. To see the clip I’m talking about, click here.

That perfectly illustrates the suffering and the comfort provided by our Coach, the Holy Spirit. It’s about making our flesh do what it doesn’t want to, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

We think we can’t go on. We think we can’t do what we’re called to do. We call it suffering. But God knows better than us.

We need to learn to listen to, and obey our Coach. Only then will we see the glory of a victorious life.

Question: What are some times that you had to suffer on the road to maturity?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Coach it Forward

I’m continuing my look at Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church.  He was talking about the way we can help one another in the same way that we were helped in our troubles.

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7

The first thing Paul tells us is that Christ suffered the same challenges that we face.  The Lord is aware of what we’re going through.

The important thing to know is that through Christ we have an abundance of comfort.  But just what does that mean?  The word, comfort, means a lot of things to different people.

Usually, when people think of comfort, they’re talking about something soft and familiar – like a favorite easy chair.  Unfortunately, soft and comfortable is not what this word means.

Comfort, in Scripture, usually comes from a Greek word that means to call alongside.  It’s what a coach does when he or she is dealing with their athletes.

A good coach is not concerned with how comfortable the athletes are.  Instead, their goal is to make sure that they’re successfully completing their training routine.

Actually, that’s the job of the Holy Spirit in our lives right now

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will be our Counselor.  That word, counselor, is the same as comfort in the above verse.  In other words, the Holy Spirit is to be our Life-Coach.

It’s His job to come alongside us and call out the instructions we need to victoriously face the challenges that come our way.  We need to be listening for His voice.

So, as we receive coaching from the Holy Spirit, we can pass on what we’ve learned.  When we see others in that same situation, we can share what our Coach told us.

According to Paul, the result is patient endurance.  It’s the ability to remain in your calling without giving up.  That comes from the expectation that God will work through you for His glory.

Then, as we pass on this coaching, the body of Christ will be built up.  This is especially what we need in our generation.

In the world, there’s so much uncertainty right now.  But in Christ, we know that the Lord is working out all things for our good.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit coached you recently?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2020 in Encouragement, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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