Our Perfect Example of Suffering
Jesus Christ came to show man the life of God, which true disciples are to live to become partakers of the new divine nature. The suffering Jesus went through was for His perfection. He became obedient through suffering. Christ was made perfect by the Father through His suffering (1 Peter 4:1). He was the perfect example of the conversion process to all those who obey Him and have eyes to see (Heb. 5:8-9).
When you discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, or when you are disciplined by God the Father for the purpose of having Christ formed in you, strange things begin to happen to you (1 Tim. 4:7; 6:3; 2 Peter 1:4; Gal. 4:19). Old friends turn their backs on you. People you have loved and helped begin to persecute you (Matt. 5:10). All kinds of fiery ordeals that are rather perplexing begin to happen to you.
Slowly, you begin to realize that you are undergoing tests sent by the Father for the perfecting of your faith (1 Peter 4:12-13). Some of those tests could be personal tragedies in the home. Maybe your wife or husband turns against you (Matt. 10:36). Maybe your children become your adversaries. Sickness may strike you or your loved ones (Dan. 8:27). It could be boils as Job had or a grievous sore as Hezekiah experienced (Job 2:7; 2 Kings 20:1). Your grievous trial could be an accident or a sickness that brings you near death.
The Bible records many examples of sickness that can help us understand the purpose for suffering. Lazarus was sick (John 11:1). Another disciple of Christ, Epaphroditus, was sick to the point of death (Phil. 2:25, 27). Many disciples who were backsliding were sick and many of them died (1 Cor. 11:30). Paul left Trophimus, a disciple of Christ, in the city of Miletus because he was sick (2 Tim. 4:20). Dorcas, a disciple of Christ, became sick and died, and then was resurrected (Acts 9:36, 40). James tells us what to do when we become sick (James 5:14).
Once you understand suffering, you begin to understand the conversion process. Suffering is the method God uses to weaken sin in our bodies and to perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish godly character in us (1 Peter 5:9-10). Just remember to be zealous in pleasing God daily and everything will work out for good (Rom. 8:28). Who will harm you if you are doing good, saying good and thinking good things all the time, to please God (1 Peter 3:13)?
When you are zealous for God, that proves to God you are not seeking to save your old life. Instead, God sees you are seeking to please Him with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength (Matt. 22:37; 2 Cor. 5:9; 1 Cor. 15:58). He sees you are hot, zealous and on fire for what is good (Titus 2:14). But if your deeds are lukewarm, you are forcing God to spit you out of His mouth and severely test you (Rev. 3:15-16). Let’s do it the easy way – God’s Way (Matt. 11:30)!