The more the diamond is cut, the more it sparkles; the heavier the saints’ cross is, the heavier will be their crown.
How encouraging that God uses our afflictions! Uncut diamonds are not very attractive. In fact, they must be carefully cut and polished by an expert to display their finished glory and brilliance. In a similar way, God is using our afflictions to masterfully sculpt us into a multi-faceted gem that will sparkle to reveal His glory. He patiently and painstakingly cuts and polishes to reveal His beauty hidden within us. He will bless us if we endure patiently and we can look forward to eternal rewards.
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net
I remember fairly early in my Christian faith, I was going through some afflictions and another Christian said, “God sure must have something wonderful in store for you.” Their statement changed my perspective on suffering because I understood that God would not allow pain without a purpose.
I can’t say I always have a great attitude about afflictions and suffering. But, recently God has been teaching me that I can use my afflictions to further the Gospel. Instead of becoming angry and bitter because of my afflictions; I can leverage them for the Kingdom. I can share the Gospel with others who don’t know Him but are going through similar challenges. Not that I enjoy afflictions and pain, but it’s becoming increasingly evident to me that we only have a short window of time to suffer well for Jesus.
Afflictions can be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. They can be caused by others or brought on by ourselves. Regardless of the source, they are painful, and no one enjoys pain. However, we can be encouraged in our suffering, because afflictions have redemptive value. God uses afflictions for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28), in a process called sanctification.
Sanctification is the life long process of growing in holiness and becoming more Christ-like as believers submit to the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
God may use challenging circumstances or people to achieve His goal of revealing more of His character in us; for example, to develop patience or compassion. These traits glorify God and allow us to better serve others as well. Remember the grain of sand within an oyster produces a pearl.
God doesn’t waste anything; including our afflictions.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember in the moment that our afflictions are only temporary because they are difficult. But, when we consider how long eternity is and that our afflictions are preparing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all; it makes them seem light and momentary.
The Bible says that our present afflictions are not even worth comparing to the future glory that awaits us.
Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (NIV)
If we submit to God, He will use our afflictions to make us shine. Just like diamonds are cut to sparkle and gold is heated to remove impurities, similarly, we are cut and refined to reflect His beauty.
Job 23:10 says, “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” (NLT)
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”(Isaiah 48:10 NASB)
Some people refer to their afflictions as a “cross to bear,” but the cross we are to daily bear is one of self-denial and complete surrender to Jesus; even to death if necessary. We are denying what we want in deference to God’s will for us.
Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (NIV)
In some situations, the cross feels heavier than at other times, but the Bible says that God will bless and reward works; including our patient endurance.
James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (NLT)
If we love God, we will endure our afflictions with patience; because we know that He is faithful to only work for our good and He will give the “crown of life” to those who love him.
The tried Christian shall be a crowned one: and the crown he shall wear will be a crown of life. It will be life and bliss to him, and will last for ever. We only bear the cross for a while, but we shall wear the crown to eternity.” Matthew Henry
Are you going through a time of suffering and dealing with afflictions?
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