How to Triumph in Suffering

Thursday: Holiness and Peace

In this week’s lessons, we look at how we can have joy even in the midst of suffering, as we come to know God better and to love Him more.
Holiness and Peace

Many Christians do not know the joy that could be theirs because their lives are not holy and because they do not trust God with their future. I know of one girl who would not trust God in regard to marriage. Instead of admitting that God’s plan for her was best, whatever it may have been, she was intent on getting married. Her determination to get married led her into many situations that were clearly not God’s will for her. They actually led her into sin. She had her way, but she was not happy. And she was the first to admit that she certainly was not experiencing God’s joy. 

Well, sin keeps us from God, who is the source of joy. And anxiety also works against it. Instead of experiencing sin and anxiety in his life, the believer in Jesus Christ should experience a life of holiness and peace. And he should realize God’s peace as he submits all aspects of his future to Him. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). 

The third principle for a life of continuous, supernatural joy is to steep yourself in the teachings of the Bible. When I first began to study what the Bible has to say about joy, I was surprised to discover how many times joy is associated with a mature knowledge of God’s Word. David said, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Ps. 19:8). “I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches” (Ps. 119:14). Jesus said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:10-11). These verses teach that joy is to be found in a knowledge of God’s character and commandments, and these can be found in His Word.

If you have not known much of this joy, the reason may be a neglect of a study of Scripture. The place that Scripture should have in your life is illustrated by an interesting custom of Old Testament times. In the days of Jesus Christ, and for hundreds of years before that, pious Jews wore on their foreheads a small device called a frontlet, which contained some words of Scripture. The frontlet was worn to remind them that God’s Word was always to be the object of their deepest meditations and was to act as the source of the principles by which they ordered their lives. 

The command to wear frontlets occurs three times in the Old Testament, and in each case the practice is related to one of the cardinal doctrines of Scripture. The first mention of this custom is in Exodus 13. This chapter first summarizes the events that took place in Egypt at the first Passover when lambs were killed, one for each household, and the angel of death passed over those Jewish families whose homes were marked by the blood of the innocent animal.  

Study Questions
  1. What are some specific things that can keep us from experiencing God’s joy?
  2. List the third principle for knowing the joy of the Christian life.
  3. What is a frontlet, and what is its purpose?

Reflection: How much time do you spend reading and studying God’s Word? If it is less than you think it should be, what changes do you need to make in your life?

For Further Study: Download and listen for free to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “Exemplary Suffering.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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