Summary: This messages conveys the idea that when we believe in or trust in someone we become a part of that person.
Text: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29).
If we believe in someone or in something, we tend to place a great trust in the person or the thing. That person becomes a good friend or associate and we would go out of our way to do whatever to help that friend. Think for a moment about members of your own family. Think of the times you went the second mile for one of the members.
Those of us who have raised children know the importance of training and guiding the child in the right direction. Remember their infancy when they were sick, but could not tell us where it hurt or how they felt. We felt the hurt just as they did.
Whenever our spouse had a problem or didn’t feel good we felt the hurt right along with them. We believed in these people, we trusted them because they were a part of us. When they suffered, we suffered. In other words, we did partake of their suffering.
Paul believed in Christ and was very dedicated to preaching His word. He faced many storms and tribulations in his life.
Paul said, “Five times I was given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews; three times I was whipped by the Romans; and once I was stoned. I have been in three shipwrecks, and once I spent twenty-four hours in the water.
“In my travels I have been in danger from floods and from robbers, in danger from fellow Jews and from Gentiles; there have been dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilds, dangers on the high seas, and dangers from false friends.
“There has been work and toil; often I have gone without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty; I have often been without enough food, shelter, or clothing” (2 Corinthians 11:25-27).
I venture to say that none of us has had to suffer any of these things or these many times. Yes, we have all had some difficult times and may have thought we would not survive. Perhaps we thought we were being punished when we should have given God praise and thanks for bringing us into a closer and dependent relationship with Him.
When difficulties come our way we need to thank God for the challenge which is an opportunity to glorify His name. He is trying to teach us that all things happen for good. There is a lesson to be learned from every trial we face. Everything that happens to us is followed by a blessing from God. Many times we forget to thank Him for these blessings. Listen to this little story of thanks.
Story: “The Only One in Thirty-Five Years”
A soldier in the American Third Army was sent to a rest camp after a period of active service. When he returned to his outfit, he wrote a letter to General George Patton and thanked him for the splendid care he had received.
General Patton wrote back that for thirty-five years he had sought to give all the comfort and convenience he could to his men, and added that this was the first letter of thanks he had received in all his years in the Army.
There are few points at which human nature is more lacking than in lack of gratitude. Parents must constantly say to children who have received some gift, “Now what do you say?” As we grow older we become hardened to the good things of life and do not think of thanking God who is the giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift.”
The best rule is the one given by Paul, “In every thing give thanks,” and especially “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
We don’t consider suffering as a privilege. We don’t like to suffer. We don’t believe there is anything positive in suffering. Paul had just the opposite view. He considered his suffering a privilege because he was suffering for Christ.
You might wonder why Paul was suffering. The answer is He was suffering for his faith. These were the very early day of Christianity. Many of the Jews did not accept the fact Jesus was God incarnate. They did not believe He was the Son of God the Father.
They refused to believe Jesus was the Person Isaiah referred to when he talked about the One who would be despised and rejected, the Man of sorrows, the One wounded for our transgressions, the One who would bear the sins of many and the One who would make intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53).
Once Paul saw the Light he was a believer. He listened when God spoke to him and he followed God’s directions. He was never afraid to face trials and tribulations because he knew his suffering was for a just cause. Paul was willing to give all he had which included his life.