Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Coming Forth"

    "For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God" (II Corinthians 4:15).
    It seems counter intuitive and completely against our nature to view trouble as the opportunity to come forth from ourselves to seek the glory of God and the blessing of others.
    Discomfort, pain, and difficulty naturally tempt us to withdraw into ourselves.  Of course, people of varying backgrounds, upbringing, and personality respond differently to challenge.  However we may react, our human inclination tends to focus us on ourselves in either self pity and despair, or self determination and pride.
    The Apostle Paul, conversely, recognized that the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in his heart and life constituted a completely different outlook on trouble.  Our Savior lived a lifetime of continuing challenge and difficulty.  His Father's glory and the needs of people provided the context of all that He did.  "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).  The same Christ lived in Paul, and led the Apostle to the same perspective that viewed problems and pain in terms of "for your sakes" and "the glory of God."
    What if the particular pain, sorrow, or difficulty you and I face in this day has been allowed or perhaps even determined by God for the revelation of Christ to others by us, and for their benefit?  If we have believed, this is the indeed the truth of the matter.  There may be other purposes as well, including our own maturing, growth, and correction.  However, our Heavenly Father's ultimate intention in all difficulty involves His ongoing process of conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29).  We can therefore be sure that our Savior's glory and the blessing of others forms God's loving motivation as He directs us to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).
     "How will You be honored in this?  And who will be blessed as I trust and submit myself to You in this?"  These are the two great questions we direct toward our Heavenly Father when trouble comes.  They may not immediately arise within us because our natural human response to difficulty flows in a completely different direction.  However, knowing the Bible's clear teaching regarding the opportunity awaiting us in our challenges prepares us to overcome the fleshly inclination to sink within ourselves.  Instead, we come forth by faith and through the power of the risen Christ to glorify God and seek the blessing of others.  There is no greater honor that our Father could bestow upon us, and no greater fulfillment of our hearts.
"So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:12)

No comments: