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Suffering with Joy November 11, 2006

Posted by larrylaz in Random Musings.
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Joe,

Since I posted those prayer requests from Voice of the Martyrs I have been thinking about how I can become the kind of person who would willingly endure these kinds of tribulation.  My faith seems so weak that I cannot imagine how I would respond if faced with the decision to either deny Christ or go to jail.  I wish I would openly declare Him to be Lord and King and joyfully embrace suffering for His sake.  I want to be that person.  But my heart so often feels light years away from that kind of lifestyle. 

What is the answer?  I can think it is only these verses in Philippians:

20as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (1:20-21)

7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (3:7-8)

The Church in our day is weak – no, I am weak – because these verses have not become the reality in my life that they must be.  They are in my doctrinal creed, but they are not daily experience.  Oh to have a heart that would be so zealous to magnify Christ that dying would be gain, and insult and reproach would be joyfully embraced, if only I might display Him as the most valuable Treasure on the planet!  How sweet it would be for comfort and ease and everything else to be rubbish compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus and making Him known!

It must happen, as you always say, through the private pursuit.  We will never see Christ as that valuable unless we go hard after Him day and night.  Pray for me, brother.  I long to live for more than broken cisterns!

Larry

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