119:71, 92; 1 Pet. Christian believers are not immune from suffering. We have been given the privilege not only of trusting him but also of suffering for him. The church is not meant to be a loosely bound association of functional Lone Rangers. 6:7-9). It has as its chief purpose the formation of Christ-like character (Rom. James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. (3) We sometimes suffer because it is God’s discipline. (1) We suffer as a testimony, as a witness (2 Tim 2:8-10; 2 Cor. It involves unknown sin, areas we may not be aware of, but that are nevertheless hindering our growth and fruitfulness. 1:6-7: The key word is “the proof of our faith.” “Proof” is the word dokimion which looks at both the concept of testing which purifies, and the results, the proof that is left after the test. ), (1) Knowing and changing (vss. The definitive suffering of Christ began in the upper room and ended on Calvary. The concept of suffering plays an important role in Christianity, regarding such matters as moral conduct, spiritual advancement and ultimate destiny. In the design of God, it is also something to make us think. What is God doing? 7:14). It forces us to turn from trust in our own resources to living by faith in God’s resources. 119:67, 71). It is good to have a way to remember some of these so that, when we are suddenly afflicted, or have a chance to help others in their affliction, we can recall some of the truths God has given us to help us not lose hope. (11) Suffering is a Struggle. The Lord uses trials to test our faith in the sense of purifying it, to bring it to the surface, so we are forced to put our faith to work. Philippians 1:12-14 with 4:5-9). Simply stated, suffering is anything which hurts or irritates. ), (3) Determine Solutions (How does God want me to handle this? To glorify God before the angelic world (Job 1-2; 1 Pet. Suffering is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. We reap what we sow (Gal. 4:12-13; 1 Pet. 1:2-4; Ps. (9) Suffering is Predetermined or Appointed. When it is possible, suffering is to be avoided. This is similar to point (4) above with more emphasis on the process and defining the objective, the production of the character of Christ. (1) Suffering is Painful. If we want to find the meaning of suffering, we should only look upon the cross. Suffering is an individual's basic affective experience of pain or distress, often as a result of one’s physical, emotional or spiritual circumstance (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy 2006). Romans 5:3-4 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; James 1:3-4 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. The purpose of suffering as a Christian PLEASE NOTE: This article is not really about suffering in general and it probably wouldn’t be helpful to someone facing sickness, bereavement, breakdown of relationship or the other kinds of pain which can afflict us in life. So, it is understandable that the Christian heart would cry out in suffering, “Why?” since we don’t know most of the micro reasons for our suffering — why now, why this way, why this long? 17:8f). It is designed to build our trust in the Almighty, but suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. Positive: when believers live under suffering joyfully (i.e., they endure and keep on applying the promises and principles of the faith), Christ’s life or character will be more and more manifested as they grow through the suffering (2 Cor. Suffering in the Christian life is not random or arbitrary, but our suffering is given greater meaning when we remember that Jesus also suffered. Our suffering as we follow Him has purpose, and it will come to an end. It causes us to turn from our resources to His resources. We may know some of the theological reasons for suffering from Scripture, yet when it strikes, there is still a certain mystery. “It may be cancer or a sore throat. What is God doing? 17:17-24; John 11:1-45). (8) Suffering Requires Our Cooperation. 1:6—“distressed” = lupeo, “to cause pain, sorrow, grief”). (4) We may suffer persecution because of our faith—especially when we take a stand on biblical issues, i.e., suffering for righteousness sake (2 Tim. Compare 1 Peter 1:6-7 where the same Greek words are used along with the verb dokimazo which means, “put to the test,” “prove by testing as with gold.”. Suffering is somewhat mysterious. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; (Romans 8:28-29), (4) Suffering Proves (tests) Us. This is why Jesus suffered on earth in every way that we do. It becomes a test of our loyalty (Heb. 5:8). Why now? The purpose was to … That’s why they are called “trials” and “testings.” Even when we understand the purposes and principles of suffering, and we know the promises of God’s love and concern given in the Word of God for handling suffering, dealing with the trials of life is never easy because suffering hurts. 16:7; 119:67, 71). Righteousness: Suffering is the discipline of our loving heavenly Father so that we come to share his righteousness and holiness. (8) We suffer to broaden our ministries (cf. vs. 59), (1) Determine Causes if we can (Is it because of something I have done? 3:12). In the process of producing Christian character and enhancing our testimony to others, suffering often opens up doors for ministry we could never have imagined. Suffering is hard; it is never easy. The Apostle was undoubtedly continuing to rejoice in the Lord, but if he had been complaining, sulking, and bitter, his witness would have been zero. 1 Peter 4:19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. This involves known sin, rebellion and indifference to God. Table of Contents [ Show] 1. Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. What is God doing? “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son He receives” (Heb. This article talks about two unique purposes of suffering in Christian Life. In August of 2001 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and on August 29th, 2002 he went home to be with the Lord. 12:9, 10; John 9:3). 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