How Do Shame And Suffering Relate To Christian Life?

I see the best way to go through suffering is to trust in God through Christ.

– John Bunyan

Some of you might have heard of Pastor James Coetes of Gracelife Church. For those who do not know him, he is the pastor of a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in Edmonton Canada. Pastor James was arrested and imprisoned in a maximum-security prison. Why? For holding worship services. If you want to know more about his story, watch this.

Pastor James’ story is not new for Christians, although it is sad to think that this is happening. And in Canada, of all places. Throughout history, there were men and women of God imprisoned, shamed and suffered because either they were preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ or living out the Gospel that is contrary to a country’s ruling. Among these men and women were the Apostles, John Bunyan, Martin Luther, Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom.

Bible Reading

Today’s devotional reading is from the 2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy 1:8-12Please, read our recent devotional from the Book of John 17:24: What Is The Desire Of Jesus For You?

The Shame And Suffering 

Paul encourages us in verses eight through twelve to continuously share the Gospel despite the suffering and shaming we face. Jesus said, And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew10:22). But do not let these instances dishearten you. Where there are afflictions, suffering and shame, the Holy Spirit is also at work. 

Paul wrote I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me (2 Timothy 1:12). Paul’s trust in God through Jesus Christ is evident in all of his writings. He did not let shame nor suffering hinder him from encouraging others to hold fast to the Gospel. How ironic it is to think that the person who was imprisoned, is the one encouraging others who think that they were freemen. 

Effect Of Shame And Suffering

We often forget our main purpose because we are ashamed and even afraid to suffer. And what is our main purpose? To give praise and worship God the Father who created us and everything around us. Moreover, to give thanks to God the Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save us from our sins. And to listen to the Holy Spirit as He guides us in the way according to the will of the Father. 

I am only a lowly member of a church, but I pray that the Father will guide the pastors and elders in leading the church. Furthermore, I pray that the Holy Spirit will stir their hearts to open their churches for us to be able to worship God as a community, as a church. Shame and suffering are nothing but a tiny speck in comparison to the eternal life given to us. Let us be in one accord to give praise to our Savior who has redeemed us from eternal imprisonment, the shame of sin and suffering.

Reflection

This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV.
  1. Have you experienced shame and suffering for Christ?
  2. How did you deal with it?
  3. What is your stand about churches being closed?
  4. Do you acknowledge your main purpose is to worship God?
  5. Have you accepted Christ in your life? Accept Jesus Now.

Prayer

Dear Father,

Thank you for a pastor that seeks You with a whole heart. The pastor’s singular desire, Lord, is to serve and please You. So, Father, show the pastor the way. Give the pastor Your vision. Grant Your clarity. Make the complex simple. And then give the pastor boldness to step out in faith to accomplish Your plans for our ministry and for our church. It’s easy to be distracted by many voices, so Father let the pastor hear but one voice, and let that voice be Yours. These things I pray with hope and expectation, in Jesus’ name. 

(from ThomasNelsonBibles.com)

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