Joy in the Face of Suffering

In the post Be Joyful Always, the proposition that we can choose to be joyful or glad ALWAYS was presented and hopefully accepted. In today’s post, the writer of Hebrews 10 contextualizes the benefits of experiencing Joy in the Face of Suffering for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Below is an excerpt from Hebrews 10 that illustrates how believers demonstrated perspicacity of Joy in the Face of Suffering. 

Listen to what the writer conveys about his observance of their Joy in the Face of Suffering as he gives his call to persevere.

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while,

“He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38     But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

Living the Christian life is most challenging. As believers, we are called daily to deny ourselves, to take up His cross daily and to follow Him. Those expectations arise from Luke 9:23-27 when Jesus spoke to His disciples. If He told that to the “12”, then does He expect any less of us. It has been said that to take up one’s cross is to denounce selfish ambition as it is contrary to the life God calls us to live and counter to Christ’s example. It is selfish of us not to endure the hardships destined for us because of the gospel.

We know that we should Be Joyful Always, but how does one achieve that end? Let’s go back to Hebrews 10 to how the writer credits those believers. It is captured in verse 34 which says “34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” It is forward thinking. It is thinking that does not value the here and now over the later. It is an understanding that this life does not hold your greatest possessions and reward. It is a kingdom consciousness.

They were able to experience joy when their possessions were taken because of their belief in Christ. How? Because they knew that they “had better and lasting possessions.” What are those better and lasting possessions that they were thinking of at that time. Ligonier Ministries shared that they were the heavenly city and country of God (11:101612:22), that cannot be shaken by the cataclysm that will destroy the present created order (12:2728). In comparison to this eternal inheritance (9:15), property lost for Christ’s sake is of no value. In terms of comparing better and lasting possessions to earthly possessions, Matthew Henry states they saw it like this “It (the believers possessions) is a better substance than any thing they can have or lose here. It is an enduring substance, it will out-live time and run parallel with eternity; they can never spend it; their enemies can never take it from them, as they did their earthly goods. This will make a rich amends for all they can lose and suffer here. In heaven they shall have a better life, a better estate, better liberty, better society, better hearts, better work, every thing better. Christians should know this in themselves, they should get the assurance of it in themselves (the Spirit of God witnessing with their spirits), for the assured knowledge of this will help them to endure any fight of afflictions they may be encountered with in this world.”

Having in mind what God will give us later allows us to have Joy in the Face of SufferingWhen was the last time that you compared your earthly possessions to your heavenly possession? Have you ever considered that? Do you know what God offers the believer? If you don’t, it truly impairs your ability to have Joy in the Face of Suffering . 


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