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Jun 10, 2018

Suffering's Potential

Suffering's Potential

Speaker: James Gallaher

Series: Transformation

Category: Sunday Morning

Jesus never promised following Him would be easy or free of pain. In fact, He promised just the opposite. But the beauty of God's grace is that our trials and sufferings have the potential to produce the greatest transformation in our lives.

As we wrap up our series on the topic of Transformation, it is important to take another look at perhaps the most well-known verse on the topic:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2

We are told not to conform, but to be transformed.

 

To conform is easy and does not cost anything. I am not changing myself, but retooling to fit new circumstances.

To transform involves dying to myself, my desires, and my plans to become something new.

The difficult truth to hear, though, is that transformation does not happen in the happy times, but in the difficulties in life. 

Two things that are requirements for transformation:

  1. Trials and suffering

Two promises we need to believe and hold on to if we have any hope of being transformed.

- God’s grace is sufficient for today.

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

You look at someone else’s situation and think that you could never make it through what they are going through, but if it were you, you would be able to.  His grace is sufficient for whatever trial you are going through right now.

He will get us through the trial

 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

God’s Word says a lot about trials and suffering:

James 1:2

Romans 5:3

1 Peter 4:12-13

To willingly endure trials and suffering requires that we believe that God maintains a purpose for all suffering.

Beware of an aversion to suffering, for it’s possible that you are overlooking the very thing that God is using to transform you.  What we believe about suffering 100% determines what we do with it.

2. Perseverance - To remain under

a man who desires to be transformed must be willing to “remain under” trials in order to follow God’s way.

James 1:4

James 1:12

Galatians 6:9

We must make the choice to remain under the circumstances we find ourselves in for the greater promise that awaits us in a transformed life.

And remember: Suffering was never intended to be dealt with alone - we are to “bear one another’s burdens.”

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Questions:

1.  What trials are you going through today, and how do you think God is using them to produce transformation within you?

2.  Spend time praying for one another. Specifically focus on asking god to produce transformation in our lives through the trials we are going through.