My women’s Bible study at church has been doing a study by John Piper called “The Blazing Center: The Soul-Satisfying Supremacy of God in All Things.” His main theme is that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” This week he added onto that “…especially when we maintain joy in him in suffering.” He brought up four chapters in Hebrews that support this.
Hebrews 10:32-34 talks about Christians who were willing to go to prison and suffer for the sake of knowing Christ. And also Christians who were willing to be connected with those suffering and “joyfully accepted the plundering if their property” for it. Why? Because they knew they had a better possession in knowing Christ.
Hebrews 11:24-26 talks about how Moses refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter when he grew up. He chose to be mistreated with the people of God rather than enjoy the “fleeting pleasures of sin.” Why? “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”
The ultimate example of joy in suffering is of course Christ. The author of Hebrews (12:1-2) tells us to look to Christ as our example. Christ endured the cross…”for the joy set before him.”
Lastly, Hebrews 13:12-14 calls us to be willing to bear the reproach (disgrace, shame – I had to look it up in the dictionary) that Christ endured “for here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
“Through Christ then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb. 13:15-16) Piper refers to all these believers as “strange people” doing strange things but that we should daily be praying that God would make us into strange people too. What strange things are you doing for the kingdom of God?