“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Tim 1:8-12
Not all suffering is purposeless and unproductive. The above passage reveals suffering that is indeed quite purposeful…. suffering for the gospel. Knowing these purposes is perhaps what makes suffering more tolerable and brings new understanding that will open the eyes of ones soul to see what Jesus truly died to give them…..this has been my hope and I hope that it is yours too.
- Suffering for the gospel understands that it is only according to the power of God. You have a holy calling according to the purposes and grace of God. This calling will never ask of you what His grace cannot help you to accomplish. His grace is sufficient for you no matter what He has called you to do. Never give up on that!! It is His power that accomplishes it, not yours.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor. 1:18
- Suffering for the gospel understands that some victimization can be eased by understanding one’s gifting. It is imperative that you know what your calling and gifting is from Christ. To truly understand your gift is liberty and helps you NOT to fall prey to misunderstanding. Misunderstanding opens you up to victimization or control rather than Divine insight. Each call and gift has the propensity to suffer differently and there is legitimate suffering that occurs from each. Some suffering comes as a by-product as you the vessel are being prepared for your gift. Other, comes as backlash as a result of expressing your gift. This backlash comes from Satan and other misunderstanding people. Knowing these truths opens you up to God’s heart of love to you rather than you feeling like you are flawed or being punished. You are created in His image and your gifting is your reflection of HIM!!! Satan hates Him and you by association and creation. Rom. 12; 1Cor. 14; Eph. 4
- Suffering for the gospel understands that every gift has its ability to see spiritual life in a unique way and celebrates this diversity. Every gift reveals the glory of God according to His own purpose and grace. However, there are usually earthly “growing pains” you and others might experience as each becomes aware of gifting and learns to operate by it. You might know your gifting, but being able to interpret correctly comes with time and consistency. Knowing these growing pains should help you understand God’s love for you and others and how He celebrates you for exactly who you are and them for exactly who they are!! Some of your frustration with others could be that they don’t understand their gifting either. Individuals operating opposite their gifting can be frustrating for all involved. For example, depending on your specific gifting, see if any of these speak to you. Ever suffer from what you’ve believed to be tormenting dreams or visions which actually have been confused with prophetic insight and direction? Have these visions caused you to feel crazy at times? Do you feel like you see dead people? Don’t be afraid of it anymore; this is a powerful way that God speaks to His saints and gives understanding into other’s fights!! This is not psychic (which is inferior and fueled by the demonic and flesh; This is PROPHETIC!!!! It is from God Almighty, fueled by The Holy Spirit and Superior!! To be used for His Glory….ask Him for eyes to see, ears to hear, and His mind to understand! Have feelings of isolation been a pattern of your life because you’ve read motives so clearly and have been too afraid to get close to people? Has this driven you to reject people because you didn’t understand your gift of Discerning of Spirits meant to help you speak accurately into that individual’s life and reveal to them the way of freedom? Or perhaps you’ve dealt with lots of rejection because your mouth is always getting you in trouble? Have you considered that your mouth is your instrument and you could be used as God’s Teaching or Preaching voice for the freedom of many?!!! Maybe you’ve had scores of sleepless nights because of the burden you have been asked to carry to the Lord and you’ve mistaken Intercession for worry and never really able to fully release this burden before the King of Kings? I am here to tell you that once you learn what He is trying to teach you, you will sleep again with greater purpose than ever!! Ever known a fact about someone the minute you laid eyes on them? How’d you know that? You might have a Gift of Knowledgethat allows you to understand why that individual is why they are and help them to their next place of freedom…..
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
- Suffering for the gospel understands that He suffered first and that relationship with Christ is the key to lifelong freedom! He has given His life for us. Are you fully persuaded that He is able to keep what you have committed to Him? What have you committed to Him? Your life? Your comfort? Your kingdoms? Relationship with Him, not running from Him, is the answer to complete understanding, peace, freedom and joy!!
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,” Heb 3:1
- Suffering for the gospel is fueled by purpose yet anchored by love. Don’t suffer in silence any longer. You are deeply loved and purposely pursued! You are vital to His kingdom and important to His plan! You are unique and special and you are the body of Christ. His special body, when unified with other believers you provide a place for Him to rest His head!! His love has motivated us towards all things and we must have the same motive or our gifting is annoyingly ineffective. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:1-3
- Suffering for the gospel sees life with spiritual eyes of blessing!! Just as this song declares, what if trials of this life, are really His blessings in disguise? You must ask God to help you see by His Spirit for true and lasting understanding.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26 “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27
We are blessed beyond measure my friends by Our Savior! We can move forward in complete trust of His love and goodness…..together!
God, help us understand, interpret, and release what it is You have entrusted to us. We commit it to You and believe for it to be ever-increasing in measure and used for Your Glory. Where we have operated incorrectly, outside of Your will, or opposite to Your love we ask You to purge us now with Your redeeming work and set us apart as vessels of Your complete will. We praise You for Your grace and power to perform it. We surrender ALL to Your complete work and Your suffering, for Your gospel in Jesus Name!