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11.20.2005    |    Submit
James, the brother of Jesus, tells us to submit to God. From James 4:
7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Great advice, but advice that doesn't guarantee happiness. In the very next verse, James tells us:
9Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Why? because, as James tells us in verse 10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." Does this mean that we have to suffer to be exalted? Short version of the answer is: yes.

Why? Because our Lord suffered, yet took joy in doing the will of His Father. Pretty harsh, for Fluffy Bunny™ Christians, who like to see only the soft, tender, freshly-shampooed Jesus. Not the bloody wretch on the cross. We suffer with the Lord, and, sometimes, for Him. Usually not, of course. Usually, when we suffer, it is because we've brung it on ourselves. Hangovers, for example, really hurt, as I can attest from past knowledge. Read it in a magazine, somewhere...

We can also find the Lord in the joy of a fresh, strong, cup of java in the a.m. And in a georgeous sunset. And in the everyday things that make up our lives, good, bad, and inbetween. But those who thank the Lord for only the good things in their lives miss the point of His sacrifice.

Suffering can be good, too. Not for its own sake. But if it leads to repentance and to submission to His will, suffering becomes a good thing.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.