We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Michael Smith.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
The text in Matthew 9 joins a long list of verses that promise persecution and suffering both then, now, and in the future – it’s just a fact of this side of heaven for the people of God. Not only that, these verses also point to a refining process – people have and will leave the faith, they have and will betray and hate one another, and heresy has and will abound – the love of many will grow cold.
Awesome news right!
Well oddly enough, Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5 that he actually REJOICED in suffering!
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
He said this because he knew God uses suffering profoundly to shape us and to refine us. It’s remarkably formative in building endurance, character, and hope – not only that, but it was the suffering of Jesus that led to the salvation of mankind.
What’s really wild is that Jesus suffered and persevered with you on His mind. The Bible says that Jesus endured the cross for the “joy set before Him” (Heb. 12:2). That joy was you and me with Him forever in heaven!
Our ability to endure hinges on this reality! We are loved, we have been forgiven and we have the power of the Holy Spirit to get us to our destination.
Father, help my perspective to shift. The last thing I want is to fall away. Please protect my heart and my mind and reveal to me areas of my belief that need to be refined by you. It’s in your name that I pray, amen.
Today, meditate on the beauty of the gospel – the fact that Jesus suffered and endured because He loves you. May this fact fuel you as you persevere today through any trial – He is for you and with you!
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