Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Suffering Makes You Look Like Jesus

“Count it a joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4

That is hard. I do not count it a joy when I meet trials of various kinds. Temptations that plague the flesh. Sickness and ailments that rob how I function. We tend to try and avoid these things at all costs. A joy? Bah! Suffering is to be avoided, not rejoiced in!

But come they do. Suffering, sickness and temptation.

Much of our modern world flees suffering and into the arms of pleasure for obvious reasons. Suffering does hurt!

But the Scriptures speak of a purpose to our suffering as Christians in a fallen world. Sure, suffering causes pain, but our pursuit of faithfulness will undoubtedly cause pain in a world that denies the God who made it.

Gracefully, I have been blessed by God to have witnessed these words from James play out. This lesson is not something that you can learn. Nor is it something that can be taught in a lecture or letter. It is seen in the schoolyard of experience.

Often in the hospital I see the fruit of James’s words here play out. Someone in agony, on the verge of despair will question their suffering.

“Why?!”

Of course, there is no answer to that question, and we could just as easily ask, “Why not?”

But that question does not lead to joy, but perhaps closer to despair!

So why should we count it a joy?

Perhaps Acts 5:40-41 can help fill in the gaps. The Apostles have just been punished by the authorities for speaking in the name of Jesus. After they are beaten and released we are told that they were “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”
In their suffering, they found themselves looking like Jesus, the one who suffered for them and for you.

That is the joy. Often in the hospital, when someone looks in agony, I will try and say this, “You look a lot like Jesus right now.”

Isn’t that what we desire to be like? That is the example that we have in Christ Jesus. In our suffering, sin, and sickness we have a Lord who has gone before us on this road. And look what happened to him! He is now risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity!

Suffering is worth it, not because suffering is good, but because suffering has a way of causing us to turn to Jesus Christ. It causes our hearts to burn in faith to trust in Him. It creates a steadfastness because just as Christ suffered and endured, so too will we.

Steadfastness causes us to become complete, lacking nothing. Because when we look like Jesus in his suffering, so too will we look like Jesus in his glory.

That is a lot to rejoice in. So remember, when you suffer in this earthly life: “You look a lot like Jesus.”

Pastor Andrew

Recent

Archive

Categories

Tags

#WeareNOTavirus 1st table of the Law 2nd Table of the Law Acts 10 Acts Advent 2021 Adventus Advent Apostle's Creed Apostle\'s Creed Arch books Babylon Baptism Bethlehem Walk Bible Study Bibles Bible Blessed Book of the Month Books Call Casting Crowns Catechism Christmas Church Shopping Communication Communion Confession Convictions Cookies Covid-19 Creation Current Events Daniel Derek Redmond Direction Dr Vieth Ephesians Eugene Peterson Eyes on Jesus Ezekiel Fall Schedule Fellowship Genesis 1-2 Genesis 1 Genesis Good Samaritan Good things Great Big God Grief Guatemala Guidance Hebrews 12:1-2 Home Hymns Identity theft Identity Idols Interpreting Scripture Jesus Christ Jesus John 10 Kaylin Labor Day Labors Law and Gospel Left Behind Lent 2021 Lent Library Liturgy Lord's Prayer Lord\'s Prayer Love Memory Ministry Mission Most Wonderful Time of the Year Name Only Jesus Operation Christmas Child Our God Parking Lot Service Parousia Pastor Andrew Pastor Daryn Pastors Perseverance Plain and Simple Planning Poet Preaching Preach Principle of Intepretation Race Reading Scripture Reopening Repent Rest Revelation Run with the Horses Running Samaritan's Purse Sexual Morality Son of Man Song of Songs Stay Connected Stewardship Sunday Suffering Sunday School Tammy Temple Ten Commandments Thank You Tithe Tradition Transition Uncertain Valentine's Day Vocation Waiting Wednesday Wisemen Worship birds budget context covid dania eggs evolution faith vs works fear mission trip newsletter pen-pal phase 1 phase 2 plans sermons shoebox singing snow birds style travelling trust update