As a child, did you ever feel like you couldn’t ask your parents for something?
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
As I read these verses, I can’t help but think of a servant approaching their Master or King with a request. The servant is able to approach and let his request be heard. There is no shame in the request, no fear in asking, no rejection. How amazing to think that this is how we can approach God, because of Jesus and the faith we have in Him. We are free to approach our King with confidence and boldness – without fear, without rejection, without condemnation. All because Jesus made a way for us to be able to be in relationship fully with our King. This has nothing to do with our own righteousness, status, ethnicity – but everyone is given the same freedom, access and confidence to approach God because of faith in Jesus.
Through all these things, Paul wants his readers not to be discouraged by his suffering but to rather see them as their “glory”. As I reflect on this, I recognize that my attitude towards suffering is definitely not like Paul’s. Paul was willing to suffer for others – for those who needed to be reminded of their faith in Jesus or perhaps who didn’t even know the Gospel. What would it look like to reshape my view of suffering to be more like Paul’s view?
We have the greatest gift in being able to approach our God with freedom and confidence, may we continue to deepen our faith as we do this. May we seek not to be so comfortable in ourselves, but rather suffer for the sake of others that they may know and approach their heavenly Father as well.
We are so grateful that we can approach you with freedom and confidence. Thank you for Jesus, that through faith in his death and resurrection we can know you fully. We pray that you would help us not to be silent about this, not to hold it to ourselves – but to let those around us know you. That we would be willing to suffer for them so that they may one day stand in your glory as well.
We pray these things in your mighty name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)
Living Church – Creek Road