by Joe Alain

Experiencing God in Suffering
Joe Alain
Romans 8:28-30

Life Application: God wants to grow us in our experiences of suffering.

God uses a variety of spiritual disciplines and experiences to grow us spiritually. One way that we grow spiritually and become conformed into the likeness of Christ is as we read, study, and apply God's Word. Another very powerful way that we mature in Christ is through our experiences of suffering. God wants us to grow us in our experiences of suffering.

Two verses are very important as they relate to our spiritual growth. The first is Romans 8:29 which forms part of our text today. In that verse we are told that we have been ''predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.'' The Living Bible says it like this. ''For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him - and He knew who would - should become like His Son.'' Now God isn't making you into a god; but he does want you to become godly. He wants you to develop His character, his ways of thinking, to adopt his values, and to act as He acts. God wants to make you like Himself.

The other verse that is vitally important to understand as it relates to our spiritual growth is Ephesians 4:15, ESV. ''We are to grow up in every way into him, who is the head, into Christ.'' The NLT describes this process as ''growing in every way more and more like Christ.'' And the Msg. paraphrases it like this. ''God wants you to grow up . . . like Christ in everything.''

Growing up is a process and this process is called discipleship. And it takes an entire lifetime. It's going to take the rest of your life for God to build character in you, the character qualities of Jesus. This means He's not done with you, He's still working on you and this process does not culminate until we are ultimately ''glorified'' (Rom. 8:30).

Look with me again to Romans 8:28. This verse is crucial to our understanding how God works in our lives in the experiences of suffering. I ...

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