"The Better Question"
God's grace proceeds from the sufferings of One serving to provide the salvation of others.
"He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again" (II Corinthians 5:15).
The same Lord Jesus Christ now lives in believers through the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Yet again, the process of death and life manifests itself through us as we walk with Him.
"As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ… So then death worketh in us, but life in you" (II Corinthians 1:5; II Corinthians 4:12).
Many of our challenges provide the basis for our capacity to minister to others, just as the Lord Jesus experienced and practiced during His own earthly life. He now walks the pathways of the world again in us, leading us to view our difficulties and response to God as the means whereby deliverance can be ministered to people in our sphere of influence. We sometimes lose, that other might gain. We hurt, that others might be comforted. We cry, that others might rejoice. And we die in various ways, that others might live. We realize that a primary reason for difficult paths in our lives involves the opportunity they give for the Savior to reveal Himself through us as the risen Christ to those in need of salvation, or in need of strengthening regarding an already existing relationship with the Lord.
When we hurt, the natural question comes, "Why is this happening to me?" Sometimes our pains do involve God's personal working in our lives. However, frequently the better question is, "Who is this for?" How will this challenge enable the risen life of Christ to flow through the conduit of our difficulties, losses, pains, and challenges? The application of Christ's victory through death, resurrection, and ascension proceeds in similar manner as did the atonement He fully accomplished for us. He walks in us, His "sufferings abound" in us, leading to the revelation of His overcoming life to others. Our faith began in such manner. It's revelation continues in similar fashion as the Lord Jesus again walks the earth, executing in us the same quality of God-centered and others-devoted experience of death working in us, but life in others.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
(II Corinthians 4:8-11)
Weekly Memory Verse
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.