A life in Christ has nothing to do with self-effort (Ephesians 2:8-9), and everything to do with ceasing from our labor and entering into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10). Life no longer includes our choices. As we take our delight in Him, God puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). Like Jesus, our only desire is to the do the will of Him who sent us (John 4:34).
We submit to God’s Spirit, who leads us to function in the work, which God prepared for us to do before we were born (Ephesians 2:10). We may experience pain or suffering in this work, but God is using it to strip away our fleshly tendencies, such as inordinate affections, excessive expectations or unholy desires for riches, fame, success and the world. God’s conviction sheds light on every area of our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Jesus already suffered for us in the flesh; but when we suffer also, it may be because we are clinging to our flesh in some area and following its desires. This causes us to sin (1 Peter 4:1-2). Eventually, we realize that, in Christ, we are actually dead to our flesh, and risen to walk in a new life in Him (Colossians 3:2-3, 2:12). We set our affections on eternal, godly aspects rather than on worldly, carnal issues.
Satan often arranges the worst conditions for us, with one trial after another, and some are even rather devastating. However, if we remain faithful to the Lord, He works out all of them for our good (Romans 8:28; Revelation 2:10). Suffering reveals to us our true nature, as well as the nature of our loving, Sovereign God within us. We say with Jesus, “Father not what I want, but Your will be done in me (Matthew 26:39).
Father God, thank You for reprimanding us when we swerve from the straight and narrow path of Your righteousness. You do not want any sacrifice from us except humility and a repentant heart (Psalm 51:17). Thank You for loving us and caring about us (Hosea 6:1; Matthew 7:13-14). Even though Satan stalks us, trying to devour us, You teach us to be mindful of His wiles and to take spiritual warfare seriously (1 Peter 5:8). We cast all of our concerns on You, because You absolutely care about us (1 Peter 5:7).
Thought for the Day:
We heartily serve the Lord with our whole spirit, soul and body, knowing that He will reward us with the inheritance of His Kingdom (Colossians 3:23-24).