Leaning Fully on Jesus

1 Peter 4:12-16 ESV

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

We should not be taken back by the trials of life which come to test our faith. Now, this is not saying that we won’t feel pain. We will. That is why it is called “sufferings.” And it is not saying we should not take action where action is required, under the direction of the Holy Spirit who will give us wisdom to know what action is required. For we should never make quick, not prayed out decisions based on our emotions. Our feelings can lead us in the wrong direction if we are not careful.

And we are not to grumble and complain about our circumstances. Now this is not saying that we can’t cry out in pain or that we can’t inquire as to what can be done to alleviate some of our suffering, where possible. Like I Google things because it helps me to learn what is good for me and bad for me food-wise. And it is not saying that we can’t express concern over how some things were handled. But we should not be grumpy but we should rejoice that we are called to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

And this is so that we may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. And this is because these times of testing are to test our faith to see if it is genuine faith and if it will stand the test or if we will give up and run away. The Apostle Paul said this:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

So, what’s he saying there? Our salvation is progressive. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns and he takes his bride to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be complete, and provided that we stayed the course and we did not desert the faith, but we continued in walks of obedience to our Lord and in daily dying to sin and to self. For we don’t just “get saved” and now we are going to heaven when we die regardless of how we live. How we live matters for eternity.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

So, whatever we are going through, whether it be insults or Satan attacking our bodies (like with Job) or natural disasters or flooding or fires or people persecuting and hating and rejecting us because of our walks of faith in Christ Jesus, we are blessed, because the Spirit of the glory and of God rests on us who have forsaken our lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives.

But we should not be those who suffer for wrongdoing. For it is not suffering for Christ if our suffering is brought on by ourselves because of deliberate and habitual and unrepentant sin in our lives.

But if our suffering is because we are people of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, who are following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways, we should not be ashamed to suffer for the name of Jesus or because of our testimonies for him or because we are standing out as different from the world, which is what we are all supposed to be. But we are to glorify God, because the Lord is doing something in our lives through what he has allowed us to suffer.

1 Peter 4:17-19 ESV

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

‘If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

Again, our Lord takes us through trials and tribulations to test our faith, and these are his disciplines on our lives so that we will share in his holiness, and so that we will bear fruit that lasts, and bear fruit that is in keeping with genuine repentance. And trials are painful. There is no other way around it. But lessons are to be learned through what we suffer, and we should get stronger in our faith and now walk even more closely with the Lord than we did before.

We need to understand here that that way to heaven is a narrow and a hard way, and there are few who enter. The masses are on the broad road which leads to destruction. And we need to understand that we must keep in step with Jesus, and we must fight the good fight of faith and finish the course and not desert part way because it got too hard. All these trials along the way are testing to see if our faith is genuine and if it will endure, so we have to be determined to endure despite our suffering.

Now Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For we are all going to stand before Jesus one day and we are going to be judged by him by our deeds. And not everyone is going to pass the test. To many he will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness,” because they continued in making sin their practice and righteousness and obedience to the Lord were not their practice.

I AM WILLING, LORD

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Sometimes when I am down,
And I don’t feel like You’re around, Oh Lord
Feeling so sorry for me,
Not knowing that all the while You’re working to see,
If when I’m put through the fire,
I’ll come out shining like gold,
Oh, Lord, please don’t ever stop working with me,
’til You see I can be all You want me to be.

Often when I ask why,
Teach me then on You to rely O Lord,
You surely know what is best
May I learn that in confidence and strength I can rest
Then, leaning fully on You, my questions fall one by one.
Oh, dear Lord, please don’t ever stop working with me
’til You see I can be all You want me to be

I am willing Lord, I am willing Lord,
To be just exactly what You want me to be

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