Fruitful in your affliction
Genesis 41:51-52 says, "And Joseph called the name of the first born Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction."
There are three important words to every believer.
The first word is purpose. Jesus has a purpose for your life. Matthew 5:14 says, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
Every believer is either a nick-knack (something that sits on a shelf but is not useful) or a burning candle for Jesus.
The second word is price. If you decide to be a light for God, you will have to pay a price.
If we compare a candle that is not lit to a burning candle, a burning candle does not look as good as the candle that does not have a flame. However, the candle that is lit is shining in the darkness.
When we decide to be a light in this world, we may have to pay a price, but we bring light to a society which is in darkness.
The third word is prize. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
God has some rewards for those who have decided to be a light in this world. It is a noble cause when we shine for God and decide to be a light for our Savior.
At times, it may be hard to be a light in this world, especially when we are being afflicted. But the question is this: how do we be fruitful in our afflictions so we may shine as light?
Genesis 45:7 says, "And God sent me before you to preserve you posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Joseph was a man who was greatly used by God.
However, his brothers became envious and conspired against him, selling him into slavery. Joseph decided to be a light in his world and to be fruitful in his afflictions.
How can we be a light in our adversities?
4Realize the people God wants you to help may hurt you.
4If you continue for God, blessings will come. The key to Christianity is having the joy of the Lord and that comes from enduring our afflictions.
Psalm 100:2 says, "Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before his presence with singing." People today need three things: the power of God, the presence of God and the joy of God. The joy of the Lord helps me to continue for God when times get tough and things aren't going well.
4Understand where people are, some people have a wounded past and are carrying the baggage of anger. If people attack you, don't take it personally. Instead, love them unconditionally. This will help you to be fruitful in your affliction.
4If you shine in darkness, victory will come. Darkness never wins. If you take a candle and put it in a room filled with darkness, no matter how large the room may be, the light will still shine and the darkness will be defeated.
4Forget your hurt by forgiving. Looking back on Genesis 41:51-52, if we want to shine for Jesus in the midst of our problems, we must forget our pain by forgiving others.
4Forgive yourself. Philippians 3:13 says, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."
The Apostle Paul had to forget and forgive himself. Many people are not fruitful in their afflictions because they are condemning themselves. The most paralyzing emotion is guilt.
4Increase your love for everyone. In I Corinthians 13:8 the Bible says, "Charity never faileth but whether there be prophesies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
As a Christian, we are to hate sin but love people. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." I owe a debt and it is to love people and shine for my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can be fruitful in our affliction if we follow what the Lord says we should do.
(Rob Hranicky is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church of Sligo.)