Luke 22: 33, "And he (Peter) said unto Him, Lord, I am ready to go you, both into prison, and to death."
Often in our youth, we were as Peter, boasting of our faithfulness to the Lord. We offer Him body and soul because we are so thankful that He saved us. We are thankful that our sins are forgiven. We are rejoicing that though we once were enemies we now are at peace with the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.
These boastings are not foolish, and the sincerity of our hearts, like Peter's, still honors the Lord.
We just didn't understand what we were offering. We were offering the Lord our body and soul to do with as He pleased for His work and His ways. We wanted to be used by the Lord, we wanted to lead other souls to Him, we wanted to encourage other believers to walk a closer walk.
So, why are we surprised when He takes us up on the offer? Why are we surprised when He actually wants to use our body for His glory, by allowing sickness? Why are we surprised when our worldly comforts can be given and taken from us? Christians are not excluded from suffering, in fact, it is designed for them. It is the method by which their faith is perfected.
Why shouldn't our lives be lives of suffering? The Lord Jesus had a life of suffering.
Do you want to be stronger? You must suffer. You strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Do you want to be more like the Lord? You must suffer. You must have the refiner's fire to burn off the dross to reflect the image of the Son.
Do you want to be more patient? You must suffer. Testing brings patience, and you must let patience have its perfect work. James 1:3-4.
Do you want to learn to pray? You must suffer. You must learn how to pray without ceasing, and there must be need of ceaseless prayer. I Thessalonians 5:17
Do you want to feel His presence? You must suffer. He draws near to those with broken heart. Psalm 34:18
We offer ourselves, longing for this great spirituality and intimacy, but are surprised at the cost. We often take back parts of our lives when the Lord begins working in them.
"No, Lord, I didn't really mean my money. How could my husband lose his job?"
"No, Lord, I didn't really mean my body. How could I be sick?"
"No, Lord, I didn't mean my children. How could you take this child home? I wanted this child so badly!"
We ask in faith, but see the Lord's dealings through our flesh. We need spiritual eyes of understanding to see those workings all around us, where the Lord is wonderfully orchestrating and allowing circumstances to answer our prayers, brings souls to Him, comfort others, teach others and perfect us to the likeness of His beautiful Son. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than ours. We need to look by faith to see the big picture, eternity is at stake.
If the Lord came to you and asked you, "I am going to use you to win souls and cause the saints to rejoice because of your testimony. You will live victoriously and the heavens will be marveling at the way the Lord Jesus is shining in your life" wouldn't you say " YES"? You would.
What is He said, "But, I am going to have to hurt you to accomplish this."
Would you still say YES? I think you would.
But the Lord doesn't tell us His plans, He asks us to walk in faith. He asks us to look to Him each day in His Word to understand His love, His plans and His desires for us. He asks us to listen to His voice.
Because He loves us, He loves us deeply.
Romans 8:37, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
None of our trials happen because we are apart from the love of God, but because we are immersed in His love. He is answering our sincere boast of our youth, spouted with the sincere joy of our salvation, that we want to be used by Him and to be like Him.
He loves us.
He loves us.
Nothing can separate us from that love.
(This blog participated in Motivate Me Monday sponsored by Sarah at The Fifth Street Palace.)