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In 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1-3 we are told that, even if we were given to give all the possessions to feed the poor unless we love have love we are nothing and have gained nothing. Even if we give our bodies to be burned, its profits us nothing without love. Every area of service to others is sacrificial. It entails the use of money, time, energy and perhaps even the loosing of life itself. Paul was so motivated by love that he she could wish himself accursed for the sake of his fellow Israelites.
Suffering in the Christian Life
One of the most widespread ideas in our land today about the Christian suffering is that we should be able to change people by our activities. The thinking is apparently this if young people are given the right upbringing, in good homes, as members of the good church, then all will be well. They will grow up to be good people. And we must agree that a good upbringing is a tremendous start in life in dealing the suffering.
But the problem with that idea of the Church activities is that often does not work out in practice. In spite of the entire fine teaching they have had, they have gone right off the rails in time of suffering and trails. Our Christian faith involves far more than the good church activities, however commendable those activities might be. The very different misunderstanding about Christianity faith, is that you can escape from the evil bias inside you which makes you break the rules and disregard God’s commandments, by retreating into a safe hiding – place.
I know what immediately springs to mind. Some think at once of the monks in their monasteries. Alright, I agree that monasteries were invented to try and escape from the moral pollution and temptations of the world. The heart of the problem is the problem of our hearts, your heart and my heart. And this why Paul writes, Be strong in the Lord, and his mighty power. You and I do need something else, we need a dynamic extra in our lives to face the suffering in our Christian life.
The Reality of Suffering as the Christians Respond
The letter to the Ephesians is like that. There is no need to try and guess what Paul means by God’s mighty power. If you read through the letter you will find God’s mighty power looking out at you from the words again and again. There are two extremes which you and I must avoid. On the other hand, there are people who say that to be a strong Christian, to be strong in the Lord; you must simply have a positive attitude to life. Then you will be strong in the Lord but that leaves out God completely. Plenty of people take that line. Many of them are fine people and live reasonably good lives. But god power does not feature in their living. They may be being strong but they are not being strong in the lord, and in his mighty power. If you have certain experience of the Holy Spirit, then you will find you can overcome all your problems. God will fight the battle for you. Just hand yourself over to him, and all will be well. The bible never tells us that life will be easy if we hand ourselves over to God, or that all battles will be won without our exerting ourselves. How much is my strength, my will power, my effort, in me fighting wrong, and how much it is God’s might, in my fight against wrong? If we answer, the Lord Jesus Christ was both man and God. He was perfectly human, and yet truly divine. His two nature blended in such a way that those who spoke with Christ were speaking with a real man, yet those who came and knelt before him were kneeling before the Lord God. Christian in order to be strong in the Lord , have to realise that two natures are going to be at work in them. On the other hand we have to exert our human all our human power to resist evil and to follow Christ. On the other hand, we can only do this because the divine spirit is at work in us. The human and the divine blend together mysteriously in all we do when we are Christians.
The Need for Perspective
Paul commanded here to be stronger and to be stronger in the Lord. There is one more thing we must notice before we moved on to being equipped with the armour of God in time of suffering. If we are not growing spiritually stronger, then we must be dead spirituality. Stronger in Christ at home, work or at college, stronger in him at the church, stronger in him in your street. This will make stronger in our Christian faith when we face the suffering on this earth. This faith in our suffering will surely advance if more of us were growing stronger in the Lord, both in our activities within the church and in our living outside it.
The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits. When you and I know God and remember that in order to understand what it means to be strong in the Lord we began in Ephesians 1, nothing the acts of God, Father, on and Holy Spirit, on our behalf, – when we know our God, that we cannot help but be encouraged and so grow stronger in the Lord.
The Lord encouragement is the great gift. In the dark days of the last war, when everything seemed lost, Churchill would speak on the radio, and the sound of his voice would put heart into the whole nation. Nothing has changed. The outlook was still desperate. But just Churchill speaking brought encouragement. How much more about God speaks those who know God shall be strong and do great exploits. We must grow stronger by feeding upon Christ. By exercising, that is, by constantly using his Holy Word. and by encouraging ourselves in God. That is how his mighty power will increase in us as we give him everything we have, holding nothing back. Paul is about to unfold to us the secret of victory in the battle against evil powers. Some churches think they have succeeded just by staying open for another year. But victory is when we face all Satan powers, and we are not bowed, but stand firm. To do that, we actually need more than only to be strong in the Lord, and his mighty power. We need protection because at our very strongest, you and I are weak. Satan knows all our weak points, even when we are strong. And even the strongest man and women needs to put on the whole armour of God. Think of many great Old Testament characters such as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samson, David, Elijah. At some point in their lives they all failed and fell, with consequent pain and suffering to themselves and many others. Every one of them, though they were truly might men.
Suffering of Theology in the Church of Oprah Winfrey
Ms Winfrey’s used of her Christian heritage in defining suffering. In one of her show time might be something of a false teaching. She said about suffering that her theology of self- help experts believes that suffering being beneficial. She turned the black’s church ethos into the exaltation of suffering itself into the face of suffering. According to her “by making all experiences of suffering into occasion to improve oneself” which she means that suffering can be a desirable experience. Her teachings suggest that strong women by their own will and of therapy transcend failure. As her teaching suggested that the people are the only themselves to blame for tier own misery
The picture is of someone who is strong in the Lord, joyful, true and faithful to the saviour. There may be a strong Christian, but without the full armour of God, he is in mortal danger, for all his courage and joy in Christ. The bible warns us that the devil goes about like a roaring lion, ready to devour the unwary, unguarded Christian (1 Peter 5:8). Lovely Christian people serving Christ enthusiastically, but suddenly knocked on the back of the head with one swipe of the devil’s horny hand, and so sent reeling, crashing to the ground. Put on the full armour of God. Paul repeats it in verse13: Therefore put the full armour of God. Without it, we will most certainly fall. But with it, by God’s grace, we can stand firm. God’s will for us is that we should be more than conquerors, victorious in the fight so he may help us all. And here is perhaps the most encouraging truth of all. When we put the armour of God that is completely honesty, righteousness that is holy living, peace that is the testimony of changed lives. His great strength is with us as the attack begins and in this fight , he never leaves our side, but is always there. That is why we can be victorious and withstand in the evil day. That must be our aim to stand our ground , and after we have done all to stand.
I personally believe that suffering in Christian living is important as it makes our own faith and walk closer with God. It just remind that someone there where we can trust where we can share our suffering as we going through. Suffering reminds us about the God own love, how he has gone through when he was on this earth. As the bible talks that those who follow Christ, has to suffer temporary then the reward is in heaven when we pass this earthy life. It just reminds our own life and even our own faith, how much we are closer to our saviour. I personally believe that the follower of Christ who are not suffering in this world should ask question within themselves are they really following Christ or just n name sake. Suffering bring the true glory to Christ as it reminds us about the love of Christ on the cross which he has paid for our sins.
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