“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.’” – 2 Corinthians 4:13-15
Adversity has been a reality in this world since the fall of Adam and Eve. When they partook of the forbidden fruit, sin entered this world and will remain until Jesus comes back to fully establish his kingdom on earth. Until that time, a battle ensues between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this earth. The Apostle Paul certainly experienced the full spectrum of that adversity! In fact, at one time, Paul (then Saul) was the source of much adversity and oppression for God’s people.
As Paul wrote to encourage the church in Corinth, he quoted Psalm 116. Psalm 116 is a song of praise written by King David, a man well-acquainted with struggle and desperation. From that place, David cried out to the Lord: “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then, I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!’” (Psalm 116:3-4). David rejoiced in the Lord for the Lord heard his cry and delivered him from his distress. In that spirit of gratitude and rejoicing, King David penned and sang this beautiful psalm.
Paul quoted David in this passage to the Corinthians to remind them that they serve a God who listens and a God who acts on behalf of his people. David believed and so he spoke; his words gave witness to his faith. Likewise, Paul has suffered, chosen to put his faith in God, and he now gives witness to God’s deliverance. Paul had been shipwrecked, stoned, chased out of town, carried over a wall, beaten, rejected. That is just a short beginning to his list of adversities. Why did Paul persevere despite this opposition and suffering? So that grace could be extended to those in Corinth, those in Rome, those all over the world who would hear his message and one day read his message. Paul persevered for the sake of the Gospel. He endured suffering because he had absolute faith in the God who raised Jesus from the dead. That same God will raise Paul and all those who look to his Son for their salvation.
King David and the Apostle Paul exemplified how Christians are to face hardships – with faith. In the struggle, we can lift our eyes and lift our hearts to the one true God who hears our prayers and who works on our behalf. Beyond knowing that God hears and responds to our prayers, there is a much greater hope. Like Jesus, we will know the power of our resurrection. Death will not hold us. Even if the sufferings of this world destroy our earthly bodies, there is a resurrection body awaiting us.
The Spirit of faith leads to full belief in God’s power and presence in our lives. That belief sustains us through every challenge in this life and assures us of the eternal life held for us then we witness to our faith in the Lord and persevere through every tribulation. As we do, grace abounds for us and for those to whom we share this good news.
Reflect & Respond:
Do these examples of King David and Paul challenge you to change your perspective on the trials and tribulations in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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