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Reasons For Suffering, part 1

Lamantations 3:31-33
"For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the sons of men."

The Bible says we suffer for our own sake.
That we may learn who God is:  Psalm 46:1; Daniel 4:24-37; the Book of Job.

That we may learn to trust: 
2 Corinthians 1:8-9
8 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. 9 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:
Psalm 119:67 - Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Discipline is proof of the Father's love and of the validity of our sonship:
Hebrews 12:5-11
5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9    Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

It is the condition of discipleship:
Luke 14:27 - And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

We are being 'pruned' that we may bear fruit:
John 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 fellow-heirs with Christ:
Romans 8:17
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:
II Thessalonians 1:4-5
4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 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.

That our faith may be strengthened:
James 1:2-4
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Power comes to full strength in weakness:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
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. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

To produce in us endurance & character:
Romans 5:3-5
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4    perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

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


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