Our church has been going throughthe book of Hebrews. My assignment was the question, “What do we learn about suffering from this book?” You can access that message here:
In our second installment we saw Principle #2 – God used suffering to perfect the Pioneer of our salvation! (2:10). There we read, “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” We then asked the question, “How dare I resist His using suffering to perfect me?!”
The third principle we saw in the book of Hebrews was simply this: Principle #3: Remembering our sufferings brings believers together to support & encourage each other! This principle comes out of Hebrews, chapter 10: “32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.” The question we asked was: How dare I waste my suffering by forgetting the past or not standing with those suffering in the present?!
The fourth principle from the book of Hebrews on suffering is this: Principle #4: Experiencing loss focuses our longing on the next life’s better and lasting possessions! (10:34) In that verse we read, “You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” The question we asked was: “How dare I allow myself to be captivated by this world’s stuff?!” We are not saying that having stuff is wrong for the believer. Possessions are fine. The challenge is that I shouldn’t let my possessions possess me!
I’ve been working my way through a very helpful book entitled Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life? by Michael Wittmer. It’s so good that I’ve asked to teach it in a series of Sunday School lessons in our church. Did you catch that last statement? I asked to teach a Sunday School class!
Unlike some other books that seem to say we shouldn’t enjoy anything in this life, and sacrifice all comfort for Christ, Wittmer’s book gives us a balanced view, including the concept from I Timothy 6 that “God has richly given us all things to enjoy.” Here’s one quote: “We must love God more than the world, yet if we truly love God, we will also love the world, on his behalf. God matters more than the world, but because he loves it, the world now matters.”