A Summary of Reasons for Suffering

Elisabeth Elliot

from A Path through Suffering

 

We suffer for our own sake

 

That we may learn who God is

Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Da 4:24 -37

Job

 

That we may learn to trust

2 Cor 1:8-9  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.   Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

 

That we may learn to obey

Ps 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Ps 119:71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

 

Discipline is proof of the Father’s love and of the validity of our sonship

Heb 12:5-11

 

It is the condition of discipleship

Acts 14:22  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.

Lu 14:26-27  "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-- yes, even his own life-- he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Lu 14:33  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

 

It is required of soldiers

2Ti 2:4  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-- he wants to please his commanding officer.

 

We are being “pruned”that we may bear fruit

Joh 15:2  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

 

That we may be shaped to the image of Christ

Ro 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 

To qualify us to be fellow-heirs with Christ

Ro 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

To qualify us for the kingdom of God

1Th 1:4  For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

2Th 1:4  Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

2Th 1:5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

 

To qualify us to reign with Christ

2Ti 2:12  if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;

 

That our faith may be strengthened

Jas 1:3  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

2Th 1:4  Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

2Th 1:5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

Ac 14:22  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.

 

That faith may be tested and refined

Isa 43:2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Da 11:35  Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

Mal 3:2  But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap.

1Co 3:13  his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.

1Pe 1:7  These have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

That we may reach spiritual maturity

Jas 1:4  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

Power comes to full strength in weakness

2Co 12:9  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

 

To produce in us endurance, character, hope

Ro 5:3-4  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

 

To produce in us joy and generosity

2Co 8:2  Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

 

Second, we suffer for the sake of God’s people

 

That they may obtain salvation

2Ti 2:10  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

 

To give them courage

Php 1:14  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

 

That because of death working in us, life may work in them

2Co 4:12  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Ga 4:13  As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.

1Jo 3:16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

2Co 4:5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

 

That our generosity may bless others

2Co 8:2  Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

 

Third, we suffer for the world’s sake

 

That it may be shown what love and obedience mean

Job

Joh 14:31  but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave.

Mt 27:40-43  and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"  In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'"

 

That the life of Jesus may be visible in ordinary human flesh

2Co 4:10  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

 

Fourth, we suffer for Christ’s sake

 

That we may be identified with Him in His crucifixion

Ga 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

Suffering is the corollary of faith

Ps 44:22  Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

2Ti 3:12  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Joh 15:18-21 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

1Th 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

1Th 3:4  In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.

 

That we may share His suffering

1Pe 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

1Pe 4:13  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Php 1:29  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

Php 2:17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

Php 3:8  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

Php 3:10  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Col 1:24  Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

2Ti 1:8  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,

Heb 13:13  Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.

 

That we may share His glory

Ro 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Ro 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Heb 2:9-10  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

2Co 4:17  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.