READ: Psalm 103, Micah 1, John 7, Ephesians 3
Much of what God sovereignly allows or purposes in our lives is for others’ sake. What God does in us is never intended to be hoarded; God works in us that He might work through us for others. Our pains and joys are to be shared, not secreted away. God takes very private and personal events and through them equips us to be a blessing and encouragement to others. We may not share details or intimacies that He has reserved for Himself, but we are to live transparently, an epistle written for others to read and benefit from.
Our Affliction is for Others. The faithful affliction of God is a merciful kindness to us that results in our comfort (Psalm 119:74-76). It is God’s tender mercy that wounds us and helps to make our heart blameless. Those who have been mercifully wounded by God are of great benefit to others, for they are softer, humbler, more compassionate, quicker to empathize, more credible in comfort. When God’s servants have been faithfully afflicted, His people rejoice to see them, for they know they will receive something unshakably true, something deep and lasting. When we encounter God’s loving discipline or His purposeful suffering, we can do so with the view that this will not only benefit our soul, but it will also one day be used to minister to others. Paul reminds the Ephesians “my tribulations are for you….for your glory” (Eph. 3:13)! Crosses are not about us; crosses are for the sake of others.
Our Grace is for Others. Paul tells of “the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you” (Eph. 3:2). Paul was given revelation into the mysteries of God for the express purpose that he would propagate and proclaim them and by pen and word spread them as far and wide as possible. When the Spirit reveals something to us, when God by His grace helps us understand a truth (deep or simple), it is so that we help others along. We believe in the prophethood of all believers; we believe that what is revealed by the Spirit (vv. 4-5) needs to be shared. Grace received for others needs to be shared both privately and publicly. We are most common with gracing others in private, but the spiritual gifts are grace gifts and have a notable public function. When we are together abiding in Jesus (family devotions, team meetings, church worship), the Spirit wants with fervent desire for grace to be shared among the family. When God’s Spirit illumines us (with word, prophecy, tongue and interpretation, picture, impression, scripture verse, or song) in corporate events, it is so that grace will be passed on and shared. Glorifying Jesus is the heart of the outpoured Spirit. “The Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). We do not seek the baptism of the Spirit, nor do we seek the gifts, but as we seek Jesus He graces us with His presence, and grace received is always intended to be passed on to others.