Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Hebrews 5:8
In the classic board game Monopoly®, one of the most coveted cards to draw is the orange “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Every player eventually winds up in jail—you land on the policeman in the corner or you draw the “Go Directly to Jail” card. But if you have the “Get Out of Jail Free” card … no problem! You can go to jail and get out of jail in the same turn!
That’s fun because it’s a game. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes we end up in the jail of suffering, calamity, sickness, trouble, or pain—and there is no orange card to set us free. New Christians sometimes think following Jesus means no more troubles. Then they learn that Jesus suffered during all three years of His earthly ministry. And His disciples, later as apostles, suffered as well, even as they walked in God’s will. Here’s what we must remember: Suffering for Jesus is to suffer with Jesus. He promised to be with us until the end (Matthew 28:20), never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).
Following Jesus, whether through blessings or burdens, has the same result: being conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29).
There is a certain kind of maturity that can be attained only through the discipline of suffering. D. A. Carson
The Brave Friendship of God
Oh, the bravery of God in trusting us! Do you say, “But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value”? That is exactly why He chose you. As long as you think that you are of value to Him He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your own to serve. But if you will allow Him to take you to the end of your own self-sufficiency, then He can choose you to go with Him “to Jerusalem” (Luke 18:31). And that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.
We tend to say that because a person has natural ability, he will make a good Christian. It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a matter of natural virtues, of strength of character, of knowledge, or of experience— all of that is of no avail in this concern. The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God’s friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all— we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
Awe is the condition of a man’s spirit realizing Who God is and what He has done for him personally. Our Lord emphasizes the attitude of a child; no attitude can express such solemn awe and familiarity as that of a child. Not Knowing Whither, 882 L