And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
~1 Thessalonians 1:6
What would it look like if we could take the Bible’s command to “rejoice in suffering” to heart, and actually start imitating Jesus in that regard? After all, He was the one who endured the cross for the joy set before Him. What would it take for us to have this kind of deep, abiding, soul satisfaction in God, so that we could let everything go and still have everything, and say with the Apostle Paul that we are “poor, yet possess everything?” What should we do to get it?
Run to Jesus. He is the One for whom you were made, and the only One in whom you can find “fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.” Meditate deeply on His cross, where the “immeasurable riches of His grace,” far surpassing worldly wealth, were shown in their full beauty. Seek a deeper knowledge of the Word of God, which was given to us so that Christ’s joy might be in us, and that our joy would be full. And above all, ask for a greater measure of the Holy Spirit, whose mission is to grow the fruit of self-sacrificing, Christ-exalting joy in the hearts of His people. A love for Christ that treasures Him above everything else in the world is a supernatural work of the Spirit, so ask Him for the faith to gladly count everything as a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.
Holy Spirit, Jesus said that You were coming into the world to glorify Him by taking what was His and giving it to us; so I ask that You would create in me, by the power of the Word of God, a deep and abiding joy in Him that rejoices in affliction and shows to all the world the all-satisfying worth of His glory.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
“There can be no effective expansion of your life’s mission and ministry, no fulfillment of the specific purpose He’s called you to, apart from the cultivation of humility in your heart and the weakening of pride in your life.” ~C.J. Mahaney
This post is written by Brendan Beale, author of Cross Connections