Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pain & Gain

This week, michael writes that when we experience the pain of this world, we don't quite understand the plan for us that our Heavenly Father is orchestrating behind the scenes. When God called Adam and Eve after the “fall of man” in the Garden of Eden, God told them that there would be pain and suffering in the fallen world. However, there is a promise of life in the suffering. Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot rise up from the ground and bear fruit. Even in our fallen state, the hope of life after we die is that we will be raised again in genuine righteousness, authentic goodness, and true holiness. To navigate this life, we must view this life from God's eternal perspective. According to Ephesians, from God's eternal vantage point, we're already seated in heavenly places in Christ. From our finite earthly perspective we cannot know what God has in mind from His eternal perspective. 

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ stepped into history for one purpose:  your redemption and mine. There are bigger things going on in Heaven than the temporal fleeting things of this world. Although the things of this world overwhelm us, we need to be prepared for good news or bad news from the world's perspective. These unpredictable things in life knock us off balance for a season. However, with a Christ-centered eternal perspective, we will overcome the temporary setbacks of the next news of this world. We need to prepare our hearts to focus on God's eternal perspective; to spend time in His Word, to journal what God is teaching us day by day, to be instant in prayer in season and out of season, and to live/to walk in fellowship with our Heavenly Father, His Son Christ Jesus and one with another in the household of Faith.

God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He says that everything works together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. We look forward to God's judgment of our faith, where we trust in Him to take us through the trials of this life. We can finish strong in the Lord or we can go out bitter and resentful.  Our challenge is to remain faithful and look forward to our Master's encouraging words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful in the temporary things of this world, enter now into the Joy of the Lord."  

Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

This passage was written after the great "hall of faith" chapter in Hebrews 11. The great cloud of witness was the testimony of Old Testament Believers who put their faith and trust in Him. Life is hard because of the sin nature that encumbers us that says, "I'm the center of my own life." In order to run faithfully the race that is set before us, we need to look to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  We run together with those in hot pursuit of our Lord Jesus. We live to choke on the dust of those whose heart's desire is to run focused on the prize of the upward calling; their eyes fixed upon the prize. He's the one who conquered the grave and finished the race before us. He for the joy set before him endured the cross, finished the race and is set down upon the throne in Heaven at the right hand of God. Although life is filled with disappointments and heartbreak, Jesus Christ endured for the joy of your redemption and mine. The ultimate goal is our eternal fellowship with Him. Therefore, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of his glory and grace.

As Paul said, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. We look toward the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. We're here to fix our eyes upon Jesus so we'll get to the finish line together. We draw strength from each other and from our brother, our Lord Jesus Christ, who blazed the trail before us.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael  

No comments: