Friday, February 24, 2017

Intentional Suffering


Scripture
 
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward.

Observation

Here Moses is presented as an example of faith. So much of his life is a reflection of faith in God, but also a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. Moses gave up the crown which he could have had in Egypt in order to identify with God’s people. This was his choice to identify with his own people. This meant that he chose to be treated poorly by the world — even the world that had previously been his home. He intentionally left that home to because he understood the long-term nature of things. The Egyptian kingdom was fleeting when it came to the eternal kingdom of God.

It’s interesting the way the language changes in this next phrase. Obviously Christ had not yet come and yet the author tells us that Moses intentional suffered “for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.” Moses’ activity in the Old Testament was already being drawn into a future in which the Messiah would transform the world. Moses and his activity was already a part of that trajectory. Moses was obedient to the call of God and God’s plan for all of humanity. He was an intentional participant, choosing to suffer for the sake of the kingdom of God, rather than live in the wealth that he could have enjoyed Moses was looking ahead and somehow understood that he was a part of something much larger than that which he was experiencing. He chose to intentionally participate together in God’s plan and this was his life of faith.

Application

God is still drawing people into the eternal plan. There is something much larger at work on a daily basis than what we can see on the human level. Just as Moses chose to participate with God, so we are asked to make a choice. What will be most important to us? The things of this world, or the things of God?

The idea of intentional suffering doesn’t sound very pleasant, but there is a question of our intentional participation in the activity of Christ. Christ suffered for the sake of the kingdom — and for all of us. Life will not always be easy and the intentionality of following Christ means being willing to suffer for the sake of the lost. Moses loved his own people and wanted them to be saved. He was willing to suffer for their salvation. How far are we willing to go to help the lost, even the lost in our own families? If we are to become participants together with Christ in his mission in this world, then we are also to intentionally suffer for the sake of Christ and for those who are in desperate need of the one who can set them free. The love of Christ motivates us to a life of intentional action on behalf of those who are lost, and that just may include suffering.

Love of Christ will result in love for this broken world. To make a difference in this world means we will need to go against the natural flow of things and stand up for what is right, and this may not always be the popular decision. A choice to suffer intentionally is to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to have a heart willing to suffer for the sake of the lost. Amen.


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