John 15:1-3,5,8: I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you...Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing...When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father."
Just Real Quick!!
We see in the focus scripture that in your hardships, trials and sufferings God is ____ What?
So we know we aren't meant to suffer just for the purpose of suffering alone, but to be sharpened, to be refined, to be strengthened, to PRODUCE MUCH FRUIT – as the scripture puts it.
You may say (but I hope not), “Well suffering isn’t that fun and what if I don’t feel like this whole producing much fruit thing? Is it even necessary?”
Well, the scripture answers this for you.
We should desire to produce much fruit because it:
- Proves that you are Christ’s true disciple and,
- Brings glory to God, the Father.
So you may need to reevaluate some things.
So now, what does this have to do with wanting pity from your brother and sister in Christ while enduring? And by the way, why so specific? Why did I emphasize them and not everyone?
Well, to start – your brothers and sisters in Christ will have to endure THE EXACT SAME THING TOO.
Fortunately, none of us are exempt:
“And since we are His children, we are heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.” (Romans 8:17)
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His child at all.” (Hebrews 12:7-8)
In light of our understanding that suffering will come for EVERY BELIEVER (in various forms of course) and that we must endure it, I think it’s important to put on an attitude of thanksgiving for being able to share in it. Desiring pity, especially from fellow brothers and sisters who must endure too, only puts SELF first and completely takes away from the truth of what this process really is.
Don’t allow your brothers and sisters to feel sorry for you as you are enduring a thing that should be enlightening for you and GOOD for you. Be like Paul, when he said to Timothy:
“Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
Instead, desire to be an example to your brother and sister while in your suffering so that they will have a good model to follow when they themselves have to endure too.
Everyone else outside of Christ doesn’t understand what the purpose of suffering really is and they don’t know the good that it produces. Let them feel sorry for you all day because they don’t know what you know and don’t understand what you understand! But be an example to your fellow believers in Christ, AND TO EVERYONE! So that you may prove that God’s will is indeed good, and perfect and acceptable.
Just wanted to say that real quick.