Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Suffering and Success - An Introduction

A couple of weeks ago Jollyblogger, aka David Wayne, wrote one of the most outstanding blog posts I have read in a very long time. He exegetes Hebrews a bit and then concludes
And I guess this ultimately leads back to our understanding of the gospel. Nowhere does God attach a promise to the gospel that it will make anyone successful, but He does attach many promises of suffering to the gospel. It follows that gospel driven leaders will be those who suffer well.
David is absolutely right here and the mind reels at the practical consequences of such a statement This fact has consequences in

There is probably more, but I think that sounds like a good outline for a series of posts, so let's leave it at that.

I think David stops just slightly short of the ultimate expression of his idea in this post - there is no contrast betwen success and suffering, rather suffering is success. God's metric of success is quite different than ours, and this puts it in quite stark contrast.

Just a couple of generic comments and then over the next few days we will look at the ramifications of this idea in the areas outlined above.

God is not in the buiness of comforting us, He is in the business of remaking us.

2 Cor 5:17 - Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Cor 3:18 - But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
To be entirely trite, "you have to break a few eggs to bake a cake." The transformation that God intends for us will not, in fact cannot, happen without pain.
Gal 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
That crucifixtion is painful stuff, and obviously the Apostle Paul thinks we share in Christ's pain thereof.

Which brings me to my second general observation. Contemplate God's ultimate "success" - His greatest expression of love.
John 15:13 - "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
God's greatest "success" starts with His death by one of the most painful means ever devised by man. It ends in the glory of His resurrection, but it starts on that cross. Success started on the cross. When you think about that, is it any wonder Christ exhorts us
Matt 16:24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
We are called to success, but not success as the world knows it, but success that starts on a cross.

Part II of this series is here.
Part III of this series is here.
Part IV of the series is here.
Part V of the series is here.
Part VI of the series is here.

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