Summary: We can joyfully endure suffering through God's grace, not through our ability to endure it

Purpose: To see suffering from God's viewpoint.

Aim: I want the listener to apply God's solution to suffering.

INTRODUCTION: Many times, when people are suffering they will say "I know that God has promised to never give you more than you can handle, but this time I think He may have given me more than I can handle." There are two problems with that kind of thinking. First, they are referring to 1 Corinthians 10:13 ...God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.... (NAU) but that verse is talking about temptations, not suffering. Second, the focus during suffering should never be on what we are able to bear, but on the grace that God is offering.

We can joyfully endure suffering through God's grace, not through our ability to endure it.

So, how can God's grace help us during a trial? Proverbs 3:34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. (NAU) Or as James put it in James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." (NAU)

Let's begin by looking at,

►Vs.6-8 I. Three Wrong Attitudes about Suffering

► Vs.6 A. I don't deserve to suffer "humble yourselves"

"The command humble yourselves (tapeinōthēte) could be translated 'allow yourselves to be humbled.'" [1]

Weakness which comes from suffering proves that we don't really have any strength of our own. If we are willing to see ourselves as weak and helpless apart from Christ, then we are in a place where He can do miracles. Luke 14:11 "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (NAU)

2 Corinthians 12:7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! (NAU) If God used suffering to keep Paul humble then why should we be surprised when God uses suffering to humble us?

► Vs.7 B. I'm not sure God loves me "He cares for you"

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (NAU)

ANXIETY literally means "the state of being pulled apart." If we are not convinced that God loves us, then suffering will tear us apart. When questions about God's love for us come to mind, then we need to go back to Calvary and remind ourselves what Jesus did there for us.

"A preacher once said: 'Worry is sin because it denies the wisdom of God; it says that He doesn't know what He's doing. It denies the love of God; it says He does not care. And it denies the power of God; it says that He isn't able to deliver me from whatever is causing me to worry.'" [2]

► Vs.8 C. Little things don't matter "be on the alert"

"The devil has different poses. Sometimes he comes like a snake, seeking to lure people into moral corruption. Sometimes he disguises himself as an angel of light, attempting to deceive people in the spiritual realm. Here, as a roaring lion, he is bent on terrorizing God's people through persecution." [3]

We must be on the alert for anything that might distract us from trusting in Christ for everything. We are in grave danger when we think that we have everything under control. 1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (NAU)

God wants us to admit that we need Him for every little thing in our lives. Proverbs 3:5--6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (NAU)

►Vs.9-12 II. Learn to Access God's Grace while Suffering

The first step we need to take is to,

► Vs.9a A. Determine to defeat Satan "resist him"

James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (NAU) Put up a fight!

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (NAU)

► Vs.9b B. Remember that others are suffering "same experiences of suffering"

One of Satan's lies is that our suffering is unique. Not only have many other believers suffered in much the same way as we do, many of them have suffered far more than we have. Hebrews 12:4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; (NAU)

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