If We Suffer With Christ

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. - 2 Corinthians 1:5. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." -  John 10:10

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. - 1 John 4:9

Now, the range of our possible sufferings is determined by the largeness and nobility of our aims. It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows by the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if it be a man's ambition to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is perfectly simple -- let him shed his ambitions in every direction, let him cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and let him assiduously cultivate a little life, with the fewest correspondences and relations. By this means a whole continent of afflictions will be escaped and will remain unknown. Cultivate negations, and large tracts of the universe will cease to exist. For instance, cultivate deafness, and you are saved from the horrors of discords. Cultivate blindness, and you are saved from the assault of the ugly. Stupefy a sense, and you shut out a world.

And, therefore, it is literally true that if you want to get through the world with the smallest trouble you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. And, indeed, that is why so many people, and even so many professedly Christian people get through life so easily, self-contained, and the shuddering sorrow of the world never disturbs their seclusion. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon, therefore, as a man begins to enlarge his life, his resistances are multiplied. Let a man tear out of his soul the petty selfish purpose and enthrone a world purpose, the Christ purpose, and his sufferings will be increased on every side. Every addition to spiritual ambition widens the exposure of the soul, and sharpens its perception of the world's infirmity and the sense of its own restraints.

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And now, for one moment, I turn the matter around. "For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ." If we have fellowship in the one, we shall have fellowship in the other. I have already said that if we lessened our lives we should lessen our sorrows. It is now needful to add that if we lessen our lives we also lessen our joys. Deaden the sense of hearing and you escape the discords, but you also lose the harmonies. Drug your artistic sense, and you lose the pain of the ugly, but you also lose the inspiration of the lovely. If by the enlargement of my life I let in human sorrow, I also let in divine consolation. A big, holy purpose makes me more sensitive toward the sin and hostility of man, but it also makes me more sensitive toward God. If the sufferings abound, "so our comfort aboundeth also." If I said nothing more than this, this alone would suffice; if we suffer with Christ, Christ Himself aboundeth through Christ."

Our fellowship with His sorrows makes us receptive of His joys; "My joy shall be in you, and your joy shall be full." Our fellowship in His battles makes us receptive of his peace; "My peace I give unto you." There is no surer way of becoming sure of Christ than to follow the way of sacrificial life and service. It may bring us into a fiery furnace of suffering, but "in the midst of the fire" there shall be One "like unto the Son of God."

John Henry Jowett (2010-04-04). School of Calvary (Kindle Locations 237-251, 283-296).  . Kindle Edition.

Children's Ministry

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