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Suffering While On Mission

In my last blog I posted about why I do what I do.

If you are new to pornfreeshamefree, let me tell you a little bit about who we are. Everything we do comes from a faith based perspective. We want to help men walk in freedom from things like porn and shame so they can fulfill the call God has on their lives. We want that for women as well, but the specific focus God has called us to in this endeavor is to help men.  

Here is a little of what we believe.

Jesus is Majestic. He is Messiah. He wants to be Master, and He wants us to live on Mission for Him. We have discussed this in the last several blogs. Knowing He is Majestic, and Messiah motivates me to make Him Master of my life. This includes things like being Master of my purity. When He is Master, then I let God help me walk in freedom from things like porn and shame. I then take it a step further and let Him Master my life as I live on Mission for Him.

We don't talk about this often in American Christianity, but the Bible is clear that those who follow Jesus, those who declare Him to be Master and live on Mission for Him, will suffer.

Most Americans don't really have a compartment for suffering. We are all about escape and entertainment and pleasure in our culture. I am not saying experiencing some form of entertainment or pleasure is wrong (as long as it is not sinful). But I am saying that making that entertainment or pleasure a form of escape can lead to that pleasure and entertainment becoming idolatry.  

It's hard to bow down to idols and live on Mission for Jesus my Master.  

So I will say it again. If I live on Mission for Jesus, then I will suffer. No one likes to suffer. I know that I don't.

In Romans 8:17, Paul tells us that the way you know you are God's child is if you suffer for Him.

In 1 Peter 2:21, we are told by Peter to follow the example that Jesus gave as He suffered.

These are only a couple of examples. There are more. We could look at more, but I want to be as succinct as I can in this blog.

What's my point? If Jesus is my Master, and I live on Mission for Him, I will suffer!!!! In Romans 8:28-30, Paul tells us the purpose of that suffering is to be conformed into the image of Jesus. If I suffer well, then the end result is I look more like Jesus.

Then the key question must be, how do I suffer well?

Look at Romans 8:26-27.

We see here that when we suffer, we don't suffer alone. The moment we surrender control of our lives to the Majestic, Messiah Jesus and make Him Master, God sends His Holy Spirit to live inside of us. How do we know this? John 7 shows us that those who believe in Jesus will have His Holy Spirit live inside of them. Wow!!! The Living God lives inside of those who give their lives to Jesus.

And in Romans 8, we see that when we suffer and don't know what to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. This is intense. When I suffer for the sake of Christ, His Holy Spirit that lives inside me (because I'm a believer) prays on my behalf because as I'm suffering I'm too weak to know how to pray.

The prayers that are prayed are so intense they are not even intelligible words. They are groanings too deep for words.

So how do I experience this personally?

First of all, I would have had to have surrendered my life to Jesus. If you have not done this, would you please consider committing your life to Jesus Christ. Check out the blogs on “God is Majestic” and “God is Messiah” to help you in making this decision.

Secondly, I must be willing to endure the suffering. Too often we try to manage our pain through things like fear, anger, or control. Sometimes we don't manage our pain, but we just escape from it. Like I said earlier, entertainment and pleasure (as long as it is not sinful) can be a good thing. But using that to escape from pain can cause idolatry to occur and if we're not careful, can keep us from being willing to endure the suffering.

If I want to experience the Holy Spirit interceding for me intensely, then I must be willing to endure the pain. Jesus must help me endure it, but I have to choose to be willing to endure it.

But I don't endure it by being more religious or trying harder to have faith or escaping from it or trying to manage it, etc.

I endure it by being honest with God about it. I endure it by letting other people in on it with me (so I'm not doing it alone).

We see this in Matthew 26:36-46.  

Jesus is about to die, and He knows He is about to die. He goes to a garden to pray. He takes three of His closest friends with Him. He lets those friends know that He is struggling. In essence, He is confiding in them that He is not doing okay. Even though His friends let Him down (three times by the way), He still lets them in on His pain. He didn't ask His friends to fix it or escape from it. He just asks them to be with Him in it by praying for Him.

Not only does He invite His friends to pray with Him and be with Him in it, He prays with great intensity to His Heavenly Father. He is praying so intensely another one of the Gospel Books of the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) says that He is sweating drops of blood. If that's not crying out to God in great intensity, I am not sure what is. Here's the deal though. God does not answer His prayer the way He wanted. God is with Him in it as Jesus cries out from a place of aloneness, but Jesus did not get the answer that He wanted.

He still had to experience betrayal, an illegal trial, being beaten, dying a brutal death on a cross, bearing all of humanity's sin on His shoulders, and being separated from God while carrying that sin. That is some intense pain. God called Jesus to the MISSION of saving the world from an eternity in hell, and that MISSION required an intense amount of suffering.

Jesus did not get the answer He wanted to the prayer He had in the garden. His friends did not necessarily support Him in how He would have desired. But He still gave his friends the chance to be with Him in it. He still cried out to God from intense pain. God didn't answer His prayer as He would have wanted, but Jesus was not alone.

If we choose to make Jesus Master and live on Mission for Him, we will suffer while on that Mission for Him.

Let's not suffer alone. Let's give people the chance to be with us in it.

Let's cry out to God from those deep places of suffering and pain and trust that the Holy Spirit will meet us there and intercede on our behalf with groanings too intense for words.  

I meet with many guys helping them try to walk in freedom from porn and shame. I tell them that the Holy Spirit interceding for me is way more impactful and more fulfilling than anything porn could ever offer me, even if the suffering doesn't get fixed.  

The Mission God has called me to is intensely hard. I have a wife and several children to love on and invest in, and I have a ministry where I am trying to help men walk in freedom. There are days when marriage and parenting are especially hard. There are days when I don't want to help guys pursue freedom anymore. How do I keep fulfilling the call God has for me?

I let Jesus help me endure it by being honest with Him. I cry out to Him from deep places of pain, asking His Holy Spirit to intercede for me. Sometimes God takes the pain away. Sometimes He doesn't. Regardless, He is always with me and using whatever I'm going through to make me look more like Him. And He is enough, even on the days it feels like he isn't.

Can we see Jesus as Majestic, Messiah?

Can we declare Him to be Master?

Can we live on Mission for Him?

Will we live on that Mission for Him, even as we endure suffering?

Will we let Him meet us in the suffering?

May we trust that He will intercede for us! May we let us conform us into Him! May we let Him be enough!!!!!