Suffering For His Sake
“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake. Philippians 1: 29
Oftentimes, as children of God, we are hurt, either by unkind words and attitudes or by attacks on our faith. Sometimes, it is the very confessing Christian that lashes out at us, and sometimes these attacks come from the very people we love the most. Taken back by these attacks, we ponder the reasons for such assaults. Do they not understand the Scriptures or rightly divide them? Do they not have abiding love? Do they think they know more than we? Do they have absolute disrespect for the people and things of God? Confused, and overwhelmingly hurt, our minds wonder if any of these things be true. Perplexed, we are moved to go before the throne of Grace and cast this burden before the Lord. As we ponder our hurt, condemning ourselves also for allowing ourselves to be cast down and having our own shameful thoughts, the gracious Holy Spirit ministers to us that we are not alone and lifted up by His marvelous grace, we are led to this beautiful and powerful verse that we, perhaps, would little read or contemplate its very thought of a suffering Christ. Therefore, we read: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake.” (Philippians 1: 29) We bow our heads in humility realizing that it is indeed meant for us to take part in the sufferings of Christ that we might in part learn of how much He loved us and gladly suffered for us. How else could we understand such depth of love if we did not suffer in His behalf also. All glory to the Triune God!
War Not After the Flesh
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.” II Corinthians 10: 3
Every day, we have to contend with our carnal nature. Our flesh is strong and leads us in paths away from God. It causes us to lean upon ourselves or upon others who have our respect, but not upon Him, our precious Lord Jesus, who is our constant sufficiency. Our flesh “pats our back” and causes us to give praise to ourselves and our works and to unholy man himself with no thoughts that a Triune God knows our every thought and all that is within us, and whether or not our minds are stayed upon Him. Silently, our soul moans within, “how can this be?” We reason that we have much ability in keeping ourselves; yet, frustration abounds. The soul grows weary and life gets confusing. We find ourselves desiring things after the flesh for that is what we see and feel, more than desiring the spiritual things within the Word of God. This is often the daily conflict of a true child of God. The soul wavers and discomforts like waves of the ocean floods our soul. Thus, our soul banters back and forth whether to follow that which feels good or to follow what it knows is godly, yet difficult in which to be faithful.
Oh, by God’s marvelous grace, our soul cries out, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” And the answer is, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 7: 24-25
All children of God experience the out-pouring of God’s unchanging mercy in such dilemmas of daily walking. The Holy Spirit ever so quietly whispers to “. . . delight in the law of God [the spiritual law] after the inward man.” Romans 7: 22 There, the soul finds peace and consolation; there, the soul experiences true deliverance; there, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who only is righteous, lies our hope of righteousness. The apostle Paul exclaimed that, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose inquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4: 6-8 That is such comfort to our soul when we are able to recognize the war that so easily besets us daily.
Thus, when we really desire not to war after the flesh, we know it is the power of God upon us to master such. It is good to bow our heads in humility recognizing that our carnal man is ever present, but that God has not left us powerless in that the Holy Spirit is given to us that we might keep the things of God. It is good to know this powerful truth for without this enabling power within us, we could never keep even the basic truths of God. It is He who keeps our minds stayed upon Him that we might have perfect peace without which, the flesh is empowered all the more. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. “Isaiah 26: 3 That is a blessing to truly behold!
Thus, humbly we are able to bow our heads because God has not left us powerless in that the Holy Spirit who resides within us enables us to keep the things of God and NOT to war after the things of the flesh? All glory to the Triune God!
GOD’S SUSTAINING GRACE
“. . . that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Col. 1: 9
Daily we experience afflictions, most small and some great, but they all cloud our day and darken our path. It is in theses afflictions that an ever faithful God shows us how much we need Him. By His grace we come to realize how little strength – spiritual strength – we really have. Our old nature assures us that we can solve our problems. Thus convinced, we travel this way until so frustrated, our soul cries out for help hoping God will help us. Indeed, it is the will of God that we look solely to Him, for He is our refuge and our strength. In God alone and by His grace we are able to grow in “the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” May God lead us down this path that we may lean upon Him for the healing of all our trials and afflictions and grow in His marvelous, sustaining grace. To God be the glory!