The Transformed Life – 6 Motivations To Endure Suffering – Part 2

Note: This is Post # 8 in the series titled “The Transformed Life” based on Romans 12. Please click here for previous posts: POST # 1, POST # 2, POST # 3POST # 4, POST # 5, POST # 6, POST # 7.

This is the second part of the article titled “6 Motivations To Endure Suffering” based on Romans 12:12b which calls to be “patient in affliction.” In the FIRST part of the article, we saw the first 3 motivations. In this, we will see the remaining 3 motivations.

However, a quick summary of the first 3 motivations before proceeding further:

Motivation #1. Suffering breaks us so will seek God more in prayer.
Motivation #2. Suffering proves the genuineness of our faith.
Motivation #3. Suffering strengthens the hope of our future glorification.

Motivation #4. Suffering helps us to mature in the faith.

Romans 5:3 tells us that “suffering produces perseverance.” James 1:3 reminds us that the “testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Suffering exposes and removes the things that hinder spiritual growth in our lives. That’s God’s way of maturing us in the faith.

The story is told about a lady who visited a silversmith to learn the process of how silver gets refined. The silversmith held the silver with tongs in the middle of the fire and kept looking at it as he was explaining the process. He said if the silver stays too long in the furnace, it will melt. If it remains too less, it will not lose the impurity. So, the lady asked, “When do you know it’s time?” His response, “When I can see my full reflection.” That’s precisely what God is doing. He knows how much more like Christ we should become with each trial and until that is done, he will keep us in the furnace. But his eye is always upon us. So, let’s not worry.

Only those who endure suffering grow spiritually. No other way. Are we maturing in our faith with each trial? If not, let’s start from now. We must learn to see every trial as a means that God uses to grow us spiritually. If not, that trial is being wasted.

Motivation #5. Suffering helps us to pursue greater obedience to God’s commands.

Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” A few verses later, we read this as well, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” [Psa 119:71].

Times of suffering causes us to contemplate deeply about sin and the consequences of disobeying God’s Word. It shows us how holy God is, how seriously he takes sin and how much we need to pursue obedience to all of God’s commands.

There is an old Greek story of a soldier under Commander Antigonus, who had a very painful disease that was likely to bring him soon to the grave. This soldier was always first in the charge, rushing into the hottest part of the fray, as the bravest of the brave. His pain prompted him to fight so he might forget it; and he wasn’t afraid of death, because he knew that in any case he had not long to live.

Antigonus greatly admired the valor of his soldier, and discovered his malady and had him cured by one of the most eminent physicians of the day. From that moment, however, the warrior was absent from the front of the battle. Now he sought his ease; for, as he remarked to his companions, he had something worth living for—health, home, family, and other comforts, and he would not risk his life now as he had before in previous battles.

In the same manner, when our troubles are many, we are often made courageous in serving our God by his grace. We feel that we have nothing to live for in this world, and we are driven, by the hope of the world to come. We are inspired to exhibit zeal, self-denial, and courage for Christ, but how often is it otherwise in better times!

When we are on top of the mountain, then the joys and pleasures of this world make it hard for us to remember the world to come. We then tend to sink into glorious ease. Beloved, don’t let the frills and thrills of this world make you apathetic toward the things of God and stunt your spiritual growth [Rod Mattoon, Treasures from 1 Peter].

Has our suffering caused us to obey God’s word more? If not, we can start afresh. Going forward, we can begin seeing every trial as God’s means to help us obey his commands more diligently.

 Motivation #6. Suffering strengthens the hope of our future glorification.

The previous phrase in this same verse in Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope.” And in that POST, we saw that hope is the hope of our future glorification—when we get new and resurrected bodies. And Romans 5:3-4 links our suffering with the strengthening of our hope— in particular “in the hope of the glory of God” [Rom 5:2] which again relates to the time when we get new bodies which will happen when Christ returns.

Persecuted believers long for the return of Christ more than folks who don’t suffer much. Why? Because their hope of being glorified is so intense they literally think about it all the time and knowing that it will happen only when Christ returns, they keep longing for it.

Often, we don’t long for Christ’s return as much because there are so many good things we enjoy here on earth that takes our eyes off the real treasure—the return of Christ that brings about our glorification. So, God uses suffering to shatter those good things in a way so as to get us to start longing for the return of Christ.

We need to ask ourselves if the trials of our lives have caused us to desire more and more being like Christ and longing for his return? If not, it’s not too late to start afresh. We must start seeing the sufferings in our lives as God’s means to strengthen our hope of future glorification.

Final Thoughts.

So, there we have. 6 Motivations that hopefully will help us endure.

Motivation #1. Suffering breaks us so will seek God more in prayer.
Motivation #2. Suffering proves the genuineness of our faith.
Motivation #3. Suffering helps us to be more compassionate toward others who are hurting.
Motivation #4. Suffering helps us to mature in the faith.
Motivation #5. Suffering helps us to pursue greater obedience to God’s commands.
Motivation #6. Suffering strengthens the hope of our future glorification.

Many more could be added. But these should be a good place to start. Let’s think through these as we go through afflictions and ask God to help us patiently endure. Let’s also remember these benefits are only for those who endure patiently—not for those who take shortcuts and escape suffering or for those who endure with a sinful attitude of resentment toward God and people.

Below are the encouraging words of the famous pastor of the past J.C. Ryle that can help one to endure suffering in a biblical manner:

We must run with patience, or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise, but let us endure unto the end, and all shall be made clear, and God’s arrangements shall be proved best. Think not to have your reward on earth, do not draw back because your good things are all yet to come.

Today is the cross, but tomorrow is the crown. Today is the labor, but tomorrow is the wages. Today is the sowing, but tomorrow is the harvest. Today is the battle, but tomorrow is the rest. Today is the weeping, but tomorrow is the joy. And what is today compared to tomorrow? Today is but seventy years, but tomorrow is eternity. Be patient and hope unto the end.

That’s what Jesus did. Hebrews 12:1-3 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Let’s keep pressing on. As yet another famous preacher of the past century named Alexander MacLaren said, “If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.” God knows what he is doing in our lives even during times of great trials. Let’s trust him wholeheartedly and patiently wait upon him for deliverance by keeping these truths in mind.

About the Author
Ram Krishnamurthy is the pastor of Grace Bible Church located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He is married to Geetha and has 2 children. He can be contacted directly at rk2serve@yahoo.com.

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