Approved before God
"But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:20-21).
Sufferings...Trials...Temptations... Discipline. A Christian's path is not easy. After his conversion to Christ and the joy of his salvation, a path is laid out before him of afflictions, trials, disciplines, and even temptations. And one hopes that he may comes out victorious in each one of these circumstances.
It seems to be a discouraging expectation; Nevertheless, God allows us to go through all these trials so that we may be approved before Him-approved in Christ. God wants to equip us to live a victorious life, not only at the end of our race, but here and now-every day.
We are saved by the perfect work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our salvation is real, without a doubt. The Lord Jesus suffered for us, not only by dying in the cross, but because he lived a life of denying himself and of subjection to the Father during his entire life on earth. He refused the life of his soul; that is why God the Father manifested himself through him.
Today we can overcome and be approved by God, in the same manner as Christ. To overcome temptation, overcome sin, bear the trials, and benefit from the discipline of the Lord, we need to participate of Christ's death.
To live a life approved by God, implies suffering trials. This is the actual meaning of the Cross of Christ for us. To be approved, we need to experience in us everything that is of Christ. First of all, and inescapably-his death. We need to live all of Christ's experience to overcome sin, the world, death, and the devil before reaching resurrection. Nevertheless, we have hope; after death, there is resurrection. Glory be to God for this!
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mathew 5:48). In the sermon of the mount, the Lord announces the beatitudes and then speaks of the perfection that needs to be aspired by a disciple. All of the characteristics mentioned there, point to the character of Christ, … not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
Through the afflictions, God proves our hearts. If Christ truly lives in us, he will overcome in us and will reveal his perfection in us, in a holy and pious way of life.
The Lord wants to approve us. Let us not fear the trials, but commend ourselves to the one who can help us. We can be a light- men and women that reflect Christ. God seeks such approved servants for his work. May the Lord allow us to have Lazarus' experience-experience death- to experience his life of resurrection today.