22nd JANUARY 2020“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Today we continue our discussion on the topic of yesterday’s devotional. Our response to suffering matters. Unless we accept God’s grace to deal with suffering, inevitably we will become bitter and tend to blame others for our calamities. There is no doubt that somebody may have caused us to suffer, but that is beside the point at the moment. For now, what matters is God’s purpose for us! Therefore, if we choose to trust God to bring about His purposes through suffering, then we can avoid the trap of bitterness and suspicion and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. (Ref: 2 Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:14–15, and 2Peter 3:18.). For Paul, suffering in the life of a believer is an opportunity to grow spiritually. Paul says concerning himself that he would glory in his infirmities so that the power of Christ would rest upon him. (Ref: 2 Corinthians 12:9.) Therefore, like Paul, we must choose to trust God and accept the grace He gives to us, in order that Christ’s character will be formed in us.
How do we react to situations of suffering? Rather than blame others for our woes, God expects us to employ the right attitude in order to speed up our assimilation into Christhood. We should be seen doing some of the following:
1. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn. So, rather than blame others for our woes, we give thanks in return (I Thessalonians 5:18)
2. Learn the lessons of the moment. Ask the question, ‘why did God allow this trial to occur in my life? If we do not get it right at this point, we may not get out of the bad situation in good time. Or better still, the suffering might keep repeating itself or get unnecessarily prolonged! Nevertheless, we must continue to have faith in God however bad the situation may seem.
3. Constantly pray yourself out of the problem, declaring the word of God and by putting your faith in God (Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 6:17)
4. Pray for your enemies and forgive them (Matthew 5:44) There is no doubt that some people have made your life miserable in the past and may even have caused your present suffering. Still, Jesus says forgive them and pray for them. Forgiveness heals and sets you free from a multitude of bondages! When you forgive and pray for those who caused harm to you, you have successfully reflected the heart of God and the reward is great! The scripture says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21)
When we respond with faith and grace during the periods of our trials and suffering, we are given the power to overcome. We gain the strength of Godly character and are able to counsel others in similar situations. In fact, we become a good workman in the vineyard of God, helping to raise the present day’s overcomers and soldiers of Christ! Only the one who has tested the waters is capable of leading the rest across the seas!
Congratulations beloved. As you hold onto this knowledge, it is my fervent prayers that you will be completely regenerated and transformed by His Divine Spirit. AMEN
Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you for this infirmity and travails, I ask for thy grace to overcome the various vicissitudes confronting me at the moment. Father, I know that you have permitted this trial to occur. Therefore, I purge myself of all moral weaknesses and I declare that I am sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. I bear no grudge against anyone. I freely forgive all those who wronged me. Therefore, I am free from every bondage of ill-health, emotional trauma, and psychological prison. From this moment onward, I overcome every inner and outer void standing between me and the fulfillment of your plan and purpose for me. I am victorious and I remain a conqueror. Thank you, father, for giving me a new life. AMEN.
FURTHER READING: Romans 5:3–5; Hebrews 5:8; Matthew 19:21.