A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same Image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
When a baby is pushed from a dark womb through an uncomfortable opening to a breathtaking opportunity, the process is painful for mother and child. The joy it brings replaces the anguish--with a love designed to be eternal.
When a man turns away from a dark world through a personal surrender to Christ, it's a lifesaving opportunity, and the transformation process begins. The joy it brings replaces the anguish--with a love designed to be eternal.
When I finally surrendered to God through a brokenness I couldn't deny and became a new creation in Christ, the work of transformation surprised me. Joy came, but old Carey is tough to kill. God-affirming self-denial takes time.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Nothing good comes easy, including the life of a performer in Christ, including the tough times you will face. Your high-profile, public destiny puts you on the devil's radar screen.
Because your life is a threat to him, because he hates the Light you carry, because stars can best be seen at night, because working in the dark is hard, because he'll hit you in your weak spots, because blows to your weak spots bring pain, because disciples must be soldiers, because soldiers need muscle and strength...
Learn to see suffering through God's Eyes. Like Jesus, forgive the men involved. Like Paul, understand each trial's purpose. Like James, count your trials as coming joy. Like Peter, trust in God's faithfulness. Like John, publicize the good that comes.*
To Be Continued...
* Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing' ' (Luke 23:34).
* Paul: 'We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body' (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
* James: 'My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing' (James 1:2-4).
* Peter: 'Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right' (1 Peter 4:19).
* John: 'And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen' (John 21:25).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.