It is finished

What is on my heart today is not an easy topic. In fact, it is something that often makes people run from church or anything having to do with the judgement of God. Today, Easter, signifies the finished work of Jesus that washes away our sins. Through Him we are forgiven and will not have to endure the wrath of God. He took our place. Once we finally allow ourselves to believe that then we start to view our sin differently. We start to be disgusted by it.

James 4:9 says:
“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” This is a point we all must get to in order to let sin go in our lives. So disgusted with the sin that, for a moment, we turn from joy and laughter in the sin and we mourn and feel heavy over it. This can often turn people away. They feel like they were happier in their sin and all this “church stuff”, “Christian stuff”, or “God stuff” is nothing but a bunch of judgement and expectations they can never live up to. I once felt that way, too. Until one day I realized just like Jesus’ suffering was temporary, so is ours.

There came a time when Jesus breathed one last suffered breath to proclaim “It is finished.” There will also come a time when you will say the same. We suffer over our sin so we will not want it anymore. It needs to be at a point of such disgust that you never want to bring it to the cross again. That is not to say that if you stumble you dont need to bring it back to Jesus. You most certainly do! His forgiveness is unending! But if you really want to let it go, turn your laughter into mourning over it. Let it take you to your knees, tears streaming down your face, praying to Jesus to forgive you and wash you clean. Cry in His lap as He comforts you and releases you from your suffering yet always remember this moment. Then, when you are ready, stand up and rejoice in your freedom from that sin and with a sigh of relief breathe out “It is finished.”

Join with me in suffering

This chapter keeps finding its way to my eyes. It is a reminder to not focus with quarrling with the world. Quarreling doesnt lead to conviction. It doesnt lead to Christ. We are to handle the world with gentle instruction always living with hope that a seed was planted. It is up to each person to decide if they will disown Him or not. Quarreling wont change that.

This time, though, one verse popped out to me:
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus”
I hate that word. Suffering. Why in the world would I want to JOIN someone in suffering? I dont want to invite suffering into my life!! Then the Spirit guided my thoughts to an understanding. We certainly dont have to invite suffering into our lives for it to make a dramatic appearance, but being a follower of Christ does present a unique set of struggles. We must deny our flesh when we really want to argue with others, turn away from sinful things that distract us, and hold on to a truth the world tries to lable as wrong or even judgmentally hateful and not inclusive. In any and all suffering we are to join together in Christ. We are to suffer with Christ as He did on the cross. He never took His eyes off of His end results. He never took His eyes off the joy that would be set before Him when it was finished. During His time of sorrow He still asked for God’s will to be done even knowing what that will was about to do to Him. He didnt turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, etc..to dull the pain. He suffered for us so we can have a savior to walk us through the pain and has endured every ounce of pain we could ever come across. Have you ever tried to talk to someone about a problem that they have never experienced? About a pain they know nothing about? They can say all the kind words they are supposed to say but how does that compare to speaking to someone that has experienced that pain and more, endured it, and lived in joy on the other side of it. It is a whole different conversation isnt it? All suffering has a purpose. I know. I know that is hard to hear. Whether you believe in Christ or not…you will have suffering. For believers, when we join Christ in that suffering…when we take Him our suffering and lean on His love, guidance, and will through it. When we keep our eyes on the joy set before us as Christ did. We grow. We endure. We find peace amongst the suffering. Joy even. I dont want to talk to you about suffering. But when I talk to you about how Christ is right there with us giving us strength. That nothing is without a purpose. That God can be so trusted that you can walk through this fire and not even smell like smoke. That, because of Christ, you dont need what the world has to offer to get you through the suffering. You can overcome it and be a victor over it instead of a victim of it. Well…that’s a whole different conversation, isn’t it?

2 Timothy 2
New International Version
The Appeal Renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing With False Teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

How do you choose to suffer?

One of the bible studies I am doing speaks a lot on suffering with Christ. I have always had problems with that thought. Why would Jesus want us to suffer with Him? Didnt He become our sacrfice so we can have an abundant life?

As I grow in learning I have come to realize that to suffer with Christ is to deny self. Ugh, again, who wants to do that?? But then I realize that everything I dont like about myself comes from lack of self denial.

Overweight=lack of self denial with food.

Messy house, piled up school work=lack of self denial from procrastination.

Harsh mouth=lack of self denial to quelch anger/self centered thinking and show agape love instead.

I suffer from those actions. When I give in to lies of the flesh I suffer the consequences.

When I suffer through self denial then I only suffer a little while. Not only do I only suffer a little while, but the outcome from the suffering yields good fruit! I am a better person because of it. God’s glory shines through it! Even better, we do this through the power of God!!

So, if I am going to suffer either way….why would I NOT choose suffering for Christ? He is truly the way to an abundant life.

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Matthew 7:17
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


2 Timothy 1:8
…Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.