I cannot recall ever meeting anyone who was appreciate of the ravages of time upon their body, who was extremely happy when great pain and suffering entered into their lives. Our tendency is to become upset, perhaps even despondent, to complain, especially when someone will listen to that complaining. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” (Phil. 2:14)
I believe that there are steps to obeying the commandments of the Lord, for some it may be only one or two, for some, it can be a very long journey indeed. The trials and tribulations that are promised to arrive in the life of all who have been born-again (1 Peter 5:10) are to be expected, they are as sure as the moment of your last breath in this life, we can prepare our flesh to meet them as much as possible, the proper diet, exercise and rest, but “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8)
We can, again, prepare our minds for these moments, we have been warned, so to speak, that they will show up in our lives, but it is our spirit, that eternal part of us that desires to be obedient to the will and Word of God that must be nurtured for those times. This is where we receive our help from the Holy Spirit, it is why one of His names is “The Comforter,” because in what we might term those “dark days,” we need a lot of comfort.
It is here where those who in humility and obedience are separated from those who may indeed be saved, but will not, for reasons only known to God, submit their lives fully to Him. The latter will use Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” as a type of catch phrase, an almost magic incantation, believing that the Lord will not send adverse situations into their lives, that the love that Christ has for them means a happy, easy life while they yet breath. They will inevitably speak the words, “I don’t understand why God is allowing this to happen to me,” when those days arrive. The only cross they carry is labeled “inconvenienced.”
Those who “walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8) go where He goes, willingly, whether it be by the still water, or into the fires of temptations, trials, and suffering. Make no mistake, their complaining will come, but it will only last for a step or two, it will not persist for long.
My friends, some of us who have been crucified with Christ stay on that cross much longer than we need to, the nails have been removed, but we will not release our grip, get on our feet, and begin to follow the Lord. A man can only be crucified once. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
We need to understand that life begins after the cross, not on it, we need to realize that once we have been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) that our service in joy to Him begins when we begin to be obedient and follow Him. The trials, tribulations, sufferings, frustrations that we will encounter after that point are all for His glory, the body that begins to fail is to be used for the glory of God in whatever way He sees fit, (1 Cor. 12:18) the mind is to be held in subjection to Him, by our own free will. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
We are commanded to rejoice in all these “adverse conditions,” (Romans 5:3) we are always to recall that it is Christ Himself who now lives through us, no matter where we find ourselves on the path. “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 20:7) How precious the Lord Jesus is to you, is how much you will serve in submission, in humility, and in obedience.