Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, August 5th. Today we explore how suffering provides the training ground for powerful faith. Let's begin with verse 9. You remember he's been talking about victory over Satan, but he says in verse 9, But resist him firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And then verse 10 is our verse for this text. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be dominion forever and ever.
Amen. Now, it's interesting that that term, the God of all grace, is not used anywhere else in the Bible, but you and I know him as the God of all grace. He says, After you've suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory will himself. And then he uses four words to describe how God will prosper us in our suffering. Now, look at these four words. Notice he says, After you have suffered for a season, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself.
Did you get that? The God of all grace has his eye on you. He knows exactly what you're going through and how you're hurting and why you got there and how long you're going to be there. God has his timepiece.
He knows exactly what second it's all over and it's done with. Haven't you been through periods of suffering? You look back and you'd say, I didn't think I was going to make it. Did you know that God was never worried about it? He knew you were. He knew you were going to make it.
You know why? Because the God of all grace had his loving arms wrapped around you the whole time. You were crying. You thought you were all by yourself. Did you realize that when you trusted Jesus as your Savior, you cried your last tear by yourself?
You've got to cry the rest of them on his shoulder. You may not feel like it, but he's always there. Loving arms wrapped around you. Loving you. Walking with you.
Hurting with you through your suffering and heartache. So he says, here's the way we prosper. Look at this. First of all, he says four words. He himself, he himself perfects us. Now, usually we take that word to mean that he's maturing us and sometimes that is the way it's used. But what he means here is this, that God's making an adjustment.
Oh, I don't like that. God prospers us through our suffering by allowing the suffering to make adjustments. Now, what he's saying here is this, that one of the purposes for which God allows the suffering is to make adjustments in our life.
And that word means and is used of the physician who resets the bone. He puts it in its proper position. God has to do some adjusting in our life all lifelong. He so adjust us that our relationships with other people are better. He adjusts our focus about things versus spiritual things versus the spirit. God is always in the process of making adjustments.
And here's the wonderful thing about him. God doesn't have to wonder what kind of adjustments I need. And secondly, he knows how long the adjustment will take place and he knows what I need to be adjusted about. Now, the problem is we don't like anybody else telling us where we need to be adjusted, do we? We want God to tell us very secretly and very privately where we need to be adjusted. But sometimes God uses somebody else. Oh, we don't like that.
It's humiliating. But somebody say you're impatient or you are insensitive. Have to say you're right. That's exactly right. When he says that he himself perfects us, that is, he is in the process of making adjustments. Now, God isn't interested in my ease, comfort and pleasure, but he's interested in that which cannot be seen, interested in shaping us into his likeness. And so he says there to perfect us.
Now, it's the same word that is used in Mark chapter one when the disciples are mending their nets. You know what God does with suffering? He mends me. He mends us.
He puts back together. He makes adjustments in our life. So let me ask you this. Do you really want to be the person that God wants you to be?
Oh, yes. Are you willing for God to make whatever adjustments in your life are necessary to conform you to his likeness? You said within reason.
Whose reason? Yours or God's? Well, I mean, you know, surely God and I can agree on this thing.
Not necessarily. I don't think God and I have ever ever agreed on how much suffering I need. Now, what are adjustments that need to be made? First of all, he says, adjust us. Second, look at that word. He says Christ himself will do what?
Will confirm us. You know what that means? To make as solid as granite. Not some plaster of Paris, but solid as a rock like granite. You see, God is not the flabby, weak Christians. He says that he himself will make us solid like granite. That is, that is something on the inside. God is interested in that which is unseen. Not that which is seen. Man, you can fool a lot of folks on the outside, but you can't fool God on the inside.
He says he himself will perfect us and he himself will confirm us. Now, when you talk about confirming, that doesn't mean that we are hard, but rather like steel and velvet. Solid, immovable, not blown by the winds. But on the other hand, there is a softness about us. Compassionate, loving, sensitivity.
What is it that makes the eyes soft but suffering? What builds sensitivity and compassion and love but suffering? And what we have to ask is, God, do I really want to prosper in my suffering? If I do, I've got to be able and ready to understand that he's doing something and here's what he says. He says that in this period of suffering, he's up to something.
What is he up to? He is up to perfecting us or adjusting us and confirming us, making us solid. That is, we're for real on the inside. And then notice that next word he says to strengthen us. That is, we're able to stand against all the winds.
Let them blow any direction they blow. But we're strong. We're strong in our faith.
Able to accept all types of adversity. You see, he himself is doing it. He says, after you've suffered a while, he says, perfect you, confirm you, strengthen you. Now, he's in the process of making adjustments. He's in the process of making us like granite. He's in the process of strengthening us. We're strong. We don't bend with every wind that comes along. We're not we're not blown by the false winds of doctrine. And when adversity comes our way, we don't fold up our tent and start crying, having a big pity party and want to go home.
Wonder where God is. Because, my friend, what suffering does it toughens you? It strengthens you. It makes you strong. What we want is to be strong without the suffering. And the truth is, you will never be strong without suffering.
It is in the breaking, shattering. It is in the hurt and the pain that we become strong. And what does God do? He builds up resistance against self-pity. He builds up resistance against self-centeredness and selfishness.
And you see, after you're hit at a certain way for so long, after a while, you don't feel it like you used to feel it. And when you meet a Christian, somebody says something wrong about them and they just want to tune up and cry. Do you know what he said about me? My friend, if you're strong in the Lord, it doesn't make any difference what they say.
Let them say it. Listen, solid like granite, having been adjusted, strong in the Lord, our strength. You see, strength in him means that I am living daily, resting and rejoicing in Christ who is my life, living in him and Christ living in me.
I've been rereading Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret. I can hardly read a chapter without getting on my knees and just weeping before God when I see how God used this man, insignificant as far as the world was concerned at that time. But here is a man who learned to live in the most abject kind of poverty in China with more heartaches, burdens and periods of suffering, both physical and persecution, all the rest. But their description of him, this quiet man, not bent and beaten, but strong, firm, solid, like granite.
Why? And all of this testimony all through that book is he learned to rest in the strength of Almighty God. And when I read about the journeys he took, I think it would have exhausted a man. But you see, the difference is that he learned to live in the inner strength that is to depend upon, to rely upon, to trust in that inner strength within him, which was none other than the person of Jesus Christ. Do you think the resurrected Christ ever gets tired? Now in his physical body, when he's walking on the earth, he would become weary. The resurrected Christ can never be tired because the resurrected Christ is not limited by a physical body like you and I have. So it's interesting, he said, I'm going away, but if I go away, I'll come back through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And so you and I are indwelt with a very person of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. He says we are to live out of that internal, inexhaustible resource who is Christ. He is our strength, not us.
He is our strength. And listen to this last word. He says, and then to establish you is what he means. He means after you get down through all of the fluff and all of the simple normal things that most Christians know, you get down there on the solid rock foundation.
You go all the way to bedrock. You're not building on a little shifting sand foundation, but your spiritual life is built on the bedrock of the word of God. You know the truth in movable in your faith, solid, firm, well-adjusted, strong in the Lord. But you're standing on the solid rock who is Christ. He says this is the way we profit when God sends us through suffering.
What does he do? He says his reason for sending us through it is that he wants to make adjustments in our character. He wants us to make a solid like rock on the inside. He wants he wants Christ to become our strength. And then he wants us rooted and grounded, immovable in that person of Jesus Christ down to bedrock.
We don't have to wonder about what's going on. We know in whom we stand and upon whom we stand. And we are firmly rooted and grounded in Christ. That's why we meet people who are going through suffering, all kinds of difficulty, hardship and trial and tribulation and persecution, unmoved.
Why? Because they are no longer flitting around up here on just read your Bible and pray a little bit and go to church and this, that and the other. But they've learned to fully trust in the Rock of Ages. And you and I sing the song about Christ being our rock. He's my rock.
He is my deliverer. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all of the ground is sinking sand. I wonder if you're resisting suffering because you just don't like it. Well, you can join the crowd.
But let me ask you this question. Do you want God to make whatever adjustments are necessary in your character? It'll be painful sometimes. Do you want God to make you on the inside like granite? Unmoved by all the persecution, all the words that people say and all the things that come your way. Rhinoceros hide.
It just sort of hits and falls off. Doesn't mean you're coarse, harsh, crude, cruel, difficult, insensitive. But it means that God has so worked in your life that you've learned that in Him those things don't matter. Do you want God to strengthen you so that every day of your life you're living out of the resource of His eternal strength, released and liberated in your life? And my friend, do you want to get down there on bedrock?
You want to get down there where nothing can shake you. That's where you find out what is unshakable. Is that what you want in your life?
Well, you can have it if you're willing to suffer. But if you're not and you want to manipulate yourself your way around it and resist God and don't humble yourself before His suffering, then you'll suffer and you'll cry and you'll hurt and you'll waste your sorrows. Adjusted, solid, strong, on a firm, immovable foundation, which is Christ. You see, that's God's goal for us. That no matter what wind of adversity blows, we never change. Fearless, bold, confident, resting in Him, the confident one in Christ. So the next time God sends something your way that you don't like, you just remember, God's suggesting me, making me solid like and strengthening me, He's getting me down to the bedrock where I'll find out what it's all about.
You know what He means by that? When we get on the bedrock, we begin to understand who God really is, what He's like and how He operates. Now, most folks want to flit around up here, but if you want to be what God wants you to be, He's got to let you suffer enough till you get down here and find out what can't be shaken, what can't be moved. Because, you see, the only way you'll ever find out how strong you are is to get tested.
How firm you are is to get tested. And how solid you are is to have the adversities of life beat against the foundation of your faith. And if you can just remember, God's growing you deeper and richer all the time. And one of His methods, He Himself will adjust you, make you solid, strengthen you and get you on bedrock. I pray for that somebody here this evening who's going through difficulty and hardship, who has never trusted Jesus as their Savior.
Doesn't understand what in the world's happening. Doesn't have any hope in looking down a dark tunnel and there's no light at the other end. I pray that you'll speak to that person and give them enough understanding in these moments to realize that you take away the tunnel.
Not only just lighten it up, you take it away. You give them a whole different perspective on life. You become their friend to walk with them every step of the way. I pray that that somebody tonight will be saved, begin a whole new life in Christ. And Father, for those who are seated here who have rebelled against their hurts, who've tried to manipulate themselves around the suffering, who maybe even have grown a little bitter and resentful to you for allowing it. That there might be confession and repentance tonight and a willingness to surrender to what you have to offer in order that they may fully become everything you planned them to be. And Lord, we'd like to explain all kinds of things to you and tell you now, Lord, if you'd have done it this way, that way and the other. We try to explain all this to you. You're not interested in that.
The truth is we know that. I pray for somebody here this evening who really does need help. Not to be too proud to ask for it. Speak to their heart is my prayer in Jesus name. Amen. Thank you for listening to how we profit from suffering. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 12:03:52 / 2023-03-16 12:10:46 / 7