I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
— Philippians 3:10-11

Through his word, God tells us that he has good plans for us. His desire for us is to grow to be the best we can be. And the best we can be is to become more like Jesus. As God transforms us into the image of Jesus, we become the best version of ourselves.

Now all this works well until God's goal for us goes against our desire to be free from pain. All of us have a desire to be free from pain. All of us have a desire to be happy. God wants this for us as well. However, God knows that growth does not always happen in this kind of environment. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Most growth happens in times of mourning and suffering.

It turns out that the greatest times of spiritual growth for most people occurs during times of mourning and suffering. And since God's greatest goal is for us is to grow and transform into the image of Jesus, it means sometimes he will allow us to go through times of pain and suffering. But the key is that he will use your mourning to mold and shape you into the image of his son, Jesus. 

Here are some of the things Jesus endured and experienced through his earthly ministry. How many of these can YOU relate with?

  • Rejected by his family
  • Rejected by his own people
  • Rejected by everyone
  • Betrayed by his close friend
  • Death of family and friends
  • Persecuted
  • Beaten
  • Arrested 
  • Died 
  • Lied to
  • Falsely accused
  • Separated from father
  • Forsaken
  • Mistreated
  • Hated

Jesus knows what it is like to feel the way you did in times of suffering. And you know what it is like to feel the way he did in those times as well. As we approach the end of the year, take some time to reflect on how you know Jesus a little more because of your suffering. Share some thoughts or encourage other readers who are currently in the midst of navigating through their own time of suffering.

 
Kyle_circle.png

KYLE IDLEMAN is the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the author of the award-winning and bestselling book, not a fan. You can follow him on Facebook.


This excerpt was taken from part of "The End Of Me Small Group Study" by Kyle Idleman.