2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”
These words here are for the church, the body of Christ. It is for those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives via dying with Christ to sin that they might live with Christ to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
When we go through life’s difficulties, and we are troubled in our spirits over situations in our lives which are beyond our control, our Lord is our strength and our comfort to carry us through these times. He reminds us that he is still God, that he is still on the throne, that he is in control, and that he is still completely sovereign over all that he has made, so we are not to fear.
And, so he comforts us with his love and grace, with many assurances of his promises, with the Word of God, with correction, too, and with the truth, in opposition to Satan’s lies. He comforts us, too, with the knowledge that our lives are in his hands, and that he will give us everything we need to get through this, so that we are able to come out shining like gold in the end.
And, sometimes he comforts us through other believers in Jesus Christ, too. But, I have to admit that fellow Christians are not always very comforting, and sometimes they are the problem rather than being a help to us. So, we can’t put our dependency in other people. Our dependency has to always be in the Lord. But, when he does send us fellow likeminded believers our way, who are the Lord’s comforters, it is awesome!!
A Word of Caution
But, let me add here a word of caution. To comfort others is not simply to give them a pat on the back and to tell them that everything is going to be okay. It might not be okay. More trouble may be coming their way, in fact. So, it is never comforting to lie to people or to give them false hopes.
And, we must also be careful that we don’t give the Lord’s comforts to all who profess the name of Jesus but who may be living in gross, willful and habitual sin against God. For, God’s promises are conditional. We have to believe in him. We have to turn from our sins. We have to obey him, etc.
Also, I must warn against comforting a Christian that a loved one of theirs who has passed from this life is in heaven, and that they are going to see him or her again one day. For, we can’t see inside people’s hearts. We don’t know who really knows Jesus and who doesn’t. We don’t know if people who rejected Jesus most of their lives made death bed decisions to trust him, either.
But, there are evidences the Bible gives us as to how someone should live if he is a true follower of Jesus, so we can know to some extent if this person’s lifestyle met that criteria. But, just be careful about giving people false hope, for that is not comforting at all. Not all “good” people are going to heaven, either. Few walk that narrow path that leads to eternal life with God, the scriptures teach. But, many follow the broad path to destruction.
So, if you want to truly comfort someone, make certain what you are telling them is the truth, and make certain what you are telling them truly applies to them. And, please know that comfort is not just making people feel good about themselves. It is speaking the truth in love to them, too. It is teaching them the ways of righteousness, and it is sharing with them what the scriptures teach, too, especially with regard to suffering.
For, this word “comfort” here is about a “holy urging.” It is a personal exhortation to walk in holiness with God. It is to motivate and to inspire believers in Jesus to carry out God’s divine plan for their lives. So, this “comfort” can include delivering God’s messages to people, exhorting, warning, and urging them to walk in a manner worthy of God (1).
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
Suffering is for our good. Righteous people suffer. And, sometimes it appears as though the wicked have no sufferings at all. But, don’t envy them. For, it is good for us to suffer, for in our sufferings we learn to depend on God and not on ourselves, and not on other people. And, we mature in our walks of faith when we respond correctly to suffering, as well. For, through suffering God is conforming us to his likeness and he is making us holy.
And, understand here, too, that “deliverance” isn’t always an escape from suffering, but it has to do with deliverance from the ill effects which might be related to suffering, such as discouragement, fear, doubt, and depression. So, deliverance can be more in the area of strengthening, encouraging, empowering, giving courage, and giving hope to us in our suffering so that we are not only able to endure, but to be stronger in our faith because of it.
So, suffering is not our enemy. And, absence of suffering is not to be taught that it is to be expected if we are walking by faith, either. In fact, Jesus talked much about how we, if we follow him, will suffer as he suffered.
2 Corinthians 1:12-14 ESV
“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.”
Through suffering we should maintain our integrity, our faith, our composure, and our walks according to the Spirit. And, we should not return to walking according to the flesh just because life got really hard.
We must realize, too, that suffering tests our faith to see if it is genuine. And, the world is watching us, too, to see how we react to our suffering, and if we retain our testimonies for Jesus Christ when life’s circumstances all of a sudden turn on us.
And, watch out for the little stuff. I think sometimes we prepare ourselves for the big stuff, and there we don’t fail, but we are not prepared for those little things that sneak in unnoticed and that get us before we realize it. So, we need to be on guard for the little stuff, too, and be ready to react with grace, for Satan is hard at work trying to take us out any which way he can.
But, if we are going to survive what is now upon us in this world of ours, and in the days to come, as things in this world get increasingly evil and crazier, we have to be surrendered to Jesus Christ. We have to be walking in his way and in his truth. We have to put out of our lives anything which might lead us into sin or which might influence us in ways that are ungodly.
And, daily we must be in the Word, in prayer, and be walking in obedience to our Lord, saying “No” to the flesh and “Yes” to the Spirit of God, putting the Word of God into practice in our lives. And, daily we must be putting on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, too.
For, we live in troubled times. Satan is on a warpath against us. Deception is rampant. And, the beast is rising! So, follow Jesus Christ with your lives, and don’t give way to the enemy of our souls. Don’t follow the lies. Follow the truth.
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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