(2 Timothy 1:8) “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
Love always involves sacrifice. It is selfless denial in favor of another. The Lord Jesus Christ loved us enough to suffer our eternal punishment for us on the cross. When we experience love for God, we are willing to lay down everything, even our own lives for His purpose and His glory. These “afflictions” are part of experiencing normal Christianity. When we are truly affected by the gospel in the details of our lives, we realize God’s purpose is not centered on making us “feel good” or we exist for our own well-being. No, it is when we really live the gospel that our lives counter the cultural trend we see in the pulpits and pews of the Western church: Jesus is not my therapist.
Therapy can be good and useful when applied in the right conditions with the right information. But the focus and purpose of God working in our lives is not to accomplish a progression towards self-actualization or building of self-esteem. God’s focus in His people is not to create a self-centered being that lives a convenient life of faith. God’s Word assumes the “afflictions of the gospel” is the rule not the exception. When we forget this and start to perceive Christianity as a means to feeling better about ourselves, we negate the power of God and create a brand of Christianity that no one can take very seriously. Jesus saved us in every way a person can be saved – spirit, soul, and body. When His life becomes our life, we are able to line up our self-perception with how God really sees us. We are able to feel about ourselves the way God feels about us. We don’t live on the basis of modern psychology but on the need for sustenance from the living Word of God. Yes, Jesus is not my therapist, He’s my Savior.
Renewed Thought – The Bible is God’s owner’s manual for our mind.