Tag Archives: Endure

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 14

14. Sorrows   

rejected4

A man of sorrows… (Isaiah 53:3b)

What does it mean to be a man of sorrows? Would it be fair to say that the life of this man was defined by the sorrows he experienced; that the seminal characteristic of his life was sorrow? When people looked at Him, was sorrow all they could see? If sorrow not only describes but defines Christ, wasn’t there more to His life than sorrow?

Perhaps we can see the determination that got Him through this sorrow:

And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)

Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, “Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)

Was this world just something to endure? Was it something to just push through? Christ certainly had a grasp of the big picture, but He also had joy, and it was found in obedience. Something we too can experience.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. ( John 15:9-11)

“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:11-13)

How do you find joy in the midst of sorrow? Consider the opening statement of James in his New Testament letter: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Joy in the midst of sorrow may require the long view (see Hebrew 12:2 above). We need to see that the process, and the result of that process is being perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. That sounds like something to be joyous about.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 8

8. What He Gave  

hands wounded

I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord GOD helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.  (Isaiah 50:6-7)

He gave His back and cheeks. Another translation is delivered. That’s what we did to Him; we delivered Him to the cross. But before we delivered Him there, He gave Himself for us.

I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. (John 10:14-18)

Giving His back and giving His cheeks was completely and utterly His choice. Jesus allowed Himself to be humiliated and beaten. And He made that choice for you. The cross was the culmination of all things to secure your salvation. It was the final act of sacrifice for you.

There is a short phrase in 1 Corinthians 13 that may explain the how and why Christ was willing to submit to and endure such torture (both physical and emotional): Love… bears all things. The Greek describes this word in two ways: to bear up under, which speaks to Christ’s choice to bear your sins; and to cover, which speaks to His protection of you. He was willing to be struck, plucked, spat upon, and humiliated because love… bears all things.

The word strike can be significantly more violent in its usage: to kill, destroy and slaughter, are a few of the more “intense” translations. Perhaps strike was more injurious in earlier languages, but now it means little more than a slap in the face. We must never lose sight of the torture and brutality which Christ endured, and then finally died.

He did not hide His face from those who plucked His beard, who spat upon Him, and those who sought to disgrace, dishonor and cast reproach upon Him.

There’s sort of a divine stubbornness at work here. Because the LORD helped Him, Christ was able to push through the insults, the spitting, the plucking of His beard and the beatings.  Indeed, He even pushed through the grave, for death was unable to keep Him. Hallelujah! Thus He set His face like flint and was not ashamed. And because he was not ashamed to endure the cross, the sins of the world, and death, He was not ashamed to embrace you: For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” ( Hebrews 2:10-12)

Singing with the King (102) – Freedom (1)

Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. (Psalm 19:13)

I’ve always found hope in this passage. My kind of sin is not the kind that accidentally happens, or sneaks up on me, or the “Devil made me do it.” My kind of sins are accomplished by my own choice.

So what is a deliberate sin?

Some of the other definitions for deliberate are presumptuous, arrogant, and proud.

This sort of sin proceeds from an attitude self-confidence, or reliance on one’s own strength. Have we fallen into that trap? To prop up my rep; to advance my career? Choosing comfort over obedience, disinterest over compassion, arrogance over service? Where we think we can do it on our own? Or in a more accurate context, where we think we can do it on our own— without God? That’s a scary place to be, and if these sorts of sins become our practice, then we shall be far from God.

What does it mean to be controlled?

The Hebrew word for control also means to have dominion, or rule, or authority. Do you really want your sin to rule your life? Is that not the rightful place for God?

The word that gives us hope in this verse, is the first word: keep. Other definitions are: to restrain, to hold back, to keep in check. Having God doing the keeping is the only way we can keep our lives from being ruled by our sins— which by the way, are the very sins that have been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus not only has paid the penalty of our sins, but He has taken away its power. So why would we kneel before a defeated foe? We ought not.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:12-15)

Another word for patiently endure is persevere. Now there’s a point to persevering or enduring, and Jesus stated plainly: You’ll be hated by all because of My name; but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Mark 13:13) In James you endure the testing and the temptation because you will receive the crown of life. With Jesus we endure the hatred and the persecution to be saved.

Two things we can learn from these passages. First, we will have to face testing and temptation, hatred and persecution. Second, we can endure them, and win! In fact, the purpose of the things we must endure is to growth in the faith.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)