UV 1685/10000 Twin Purposes
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
I Peter 2 v 21
From the human perspective, we define the purpose of life to be the pursuit of happiness. In contrast, the Word of God says that the purpose of life is to participate or partake in the suffering of Christ for right reasons or just causes, not for doing wrong or due to our personal blunders or unwise decisions. It is also to participate in the glory of Christ for though Christ suffered much during His life on earth and He now enjoys eternal glory at the right hand of the Father. The suffering of Christ was extreme while our suffering is much less in comparison regardless of what we have gone through, are going through or will go through. The Lord gives us grace during our times of suffering so that we can endure it. Enduring the cross of suffering is what is meant by denying oneself and taking up the cross as opposed to gratifying oneself and satisfying one’s desires in the pursuit of his or her happiness. Suffering is intended to perfect us, to make us mature or robust in faith so that nothing and no one can shake our faith in the Lord. We should follow in the steps of Christ in not complaining and accepting suffering willingly. Suffering teaches us to be patient, in not second guessing the Lord and waiting for His will to be revealed and fulfilled.
Our suffering for the sake of righteousness is neither endless nor unlimited. Once we have suffered , like Jesus we too enter into our rest or times of peace and reward. The second purpose of the Lord for our lives is that we partake or participate in the glory or greatness of God. Like Jesus, we need to always point all the glory and greatness to our Father in heaven. An example of God’s glory being revealed in a man’s life is that of the young boy David being emboldened and enabled to defeat and slay the giant warrior Goliath. The glory of God enables a God-inspired ant (Gi-ant) to confront and overcome any giant. The operative belief that empowers and enables us is -greater is He that is in us and with us and for us and he that is with them.
Hence, suffering is meant to test and purify our faith, develop our patience and strengthen our character. Glory is meant to reveal the goodness and awesomeness of the Lord. Glory is also meant to encourage and edify or build up our faith further. We should not grumble during our times of suffering nor should we become proud in the times of glory. David did not gloat over his amazing victory over Goliath. He attributed all the glory to the fact that he went against Goliath in the name of the Lord. Neither suffering nor glory should increase our distance from the Lord but cause us to walk more intimately with Him. We find that life is neither a bed of roses nor of unmitigated thorns or sorrows but a balanced mix of suffering and glory.
Prateep V Philip