Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands Chapter Six Wednesday November 29, 2023
4 Reasons for Hope in Suffering | Crossway Articles
God Has a Purpose for Suffering
Even though the Bible doesn’t answer your specific why questions—the kind of questions every sufferer asks—it does unveil why God allows hardship into the lives of his children. There is tremendous comfort in the purpose of God revealed in Scripture. God lovingly clues us into his purpose so that in the middle of our suffering we have reason to hope.
1. We Suffer Because We Live in a Fallen World (2 Cor. 4:7–10)
You may be thinking, “Where is the comfort in knowing that we live in a fallen world?” It is comforting because it means that the painful things we deal with are not some bad accident, horrible luck, or indication of a massive failure of God’s plan. If any of these things were true, we would have reason to feel powerless and hopeless. Note how the Bible talks about our experience in the here and now:
We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Cor. 4:7–10)
No place in Scripture treats the fact of our suffering with shock, surprise, frustration, or dismay. Rather, suffering is presented to us as the normal experience of everyone living between the fall of Adam and Eve and the future coming of Christ. God hasn’t failed, his plan hasn’t failed, and you and I haven’t been abandoned. And because we know that God has a purpose for leaving us for a period of time in a terribly broken world, we can suffer but not be hauntingly perplexed or in constant despair, nor feel forsaken or that we’re about to be destroyed. Hope for sufferers is rooted in the fact that they’ve not been singled out or forsaken but that what is painful has a purpose. If suffering has a purpose, then there is reason to believe that good things will come out of what doesn’t seem good.
The picture in 2 Corinthians 4 is of cracked clay vessels, but you can see treasure shining through the cracks. Wow! There’s a whole lot of content in that little word picture. First, it reminds us that we were never unbreakable steel vessels and that we weren’t created to be independently strong. We were created to be fragile, because God wants to accomplish something good through our fragility. He allows us to be cracked so we will finally get the fact that hope and security are never found by what’s in us but only by what’s in him. In order to accomplish this, he has to put us in situations where we can’t make it on the basis of our strength and wisdom but instinctively reach out for help instead.
The picture of cracked vessels with treasure shining through the cracks is a picture of being filled. Suffering causes us to really know who we are and who God is and to begin to really celebrate what we’ve been given. God doesn’t always fill your cracks but often uses your cracks to fill you up with a sense of his presence, grace, and glory.
God leaves us in this broken world because what it produces in us is way better than the comfortable life we all want. I haven’t always felt this way, but it’s true that in our suffering God isn’t saddling us with less but graciously giving us more. This is why we can endure hardship without feeling forsaken or giving way to despair. Has suffering robbed you of your hope? Has it tempted you to tell yourself that you’ve been forsaken?
2. We Suffer Because God Uses It to Produce Good in Us (James 1:2–4)
The comfort in James 1:2–4 confronts us with what we truly want out of life. There are only two types of motivating hopes. You either hook your hope to a physical, situational life of comfort, success, strength, and pleasure or to a life of rich spiritual awakening, growth, and Godward glory. The Bible presents the second option as not only infinitely more satisfying in the long run but also that for which we were made. Because we were made for it, it does a much better job of satisfying the longing that’s in all our hearts. Suffering in the hands of God is a powerful tool of personal growth and transformation. Here’s what God does in us through the tool of hardship:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2–4)
That is a remarkable passage because it calls and alerts us to something counterintuitive. We don’t typically experience joy in suffering; in fact, many of us lose our joy even in the face of the smallest obstacles. Now, don’t misunderstand what James is calling you to here. He’s not saying you should rejoice because of pain and loss. This is not a call to some kind of joyful Christian stoicism. Rather, James is saying that you have reason to rejoice in the middle of your travail because of how God is using your suffering to produce in you what you could never produce in yourself. Suffering in the hands of God is used to fill you up, to grow you up, and to complete God’s work in you.
James is saying that the bad things you endure are a tool of a very good thing that God is doing in you and for you. So in the very moment when you and I think we’ve been forsaken, we’re actually being graced with God’s rescuing, transforming, and delivering power. And what is it that we’re being delivered from? James’s answer is clear: we are being delivered from ourselves. It is humbling to admit that the greatest disaster in our lives is not what we suffer, but the sin inside us, which separates us from God and always leads to death. While we tend to be intolerant of hardship and difficulty, God is intolerant of our sin, so he uses hard things to deliver us from it. The only name for this is grace. It’s true that grace often comes in uncomfortable forms. When we cry out for grace, we’re often already getting it, but it’s not the grace of release; it’s the grace of rescue and transformation, because that’s the grace we really need.
In our suffering God is at work to give us something much better than what we want. He’s not content to dispense temporary relief, when eternal change is what we really need. In the zeal of redeeming love, he uses hard tools to produce soft but sturdy hearts, and that’s a very good thing. Think of the power in suffering to change us:
Suffering has the power to destroy our self-reliance. We weren’t created to be self-reliant, so self-reliance never produces good things in us. We were created to be dependent on God and mutually dependent on one another. Our lives are a community project. Suffering exposes the fact that we’re not self-sufficient, that we do, in fact, need others. The pain and weakness of suffering cause us to cry out to God, perhaps more genuinely, more deeply, and more humbly than ever before.
Suffering has the power to expose our self-righteousness. We like to tell ourselves that we’re spiritually okay, but suffering also exposes the bad things that still live inside us. In our pain we’re irritable, envious, demanding, impatient, doubtful, and angry. Suffering doesn’t make us this way, but it draws out what’s been inside us already. Suffering demonstrates that we’re not grace graduates, that there’s still sin inside us, and that we desperately need the Savior’s grace. What comes out of us as we suffer proves that we need something profoundly more important than relief from situational, physical, relational, or cultural hardship.
Suffering has the power to lay waste to our idols. Suffering has a way of exposing what’s really dear to us, what we feel we can’t live without, and what truly rules our hearts. It’s not just that what we’re going through is painful, but also that we’ve lost what was giving us value and worth. Suffering exposes the inadequacy of hooking our hope to the temporary treasures of the created world and positions our heart to hook our hope to the Creator in ways we’ve never done before.
God leaves us in this broken world because what it produces in us is way better than the comfortable life we all want.
Are you looking gratefully for the ways that God will use what’s very hard to produce what’s very good in you?
3. Suffering Prepares Us for How God Will Use Us (2 Cor. 1:3–9)
Here’s the bottom line. If you’re God’s child, you’ve been liberated from the self-centered burden of living for yourself, and you’ve been freed to live for him. That means you’ve been called to be part of what God is doing in the lives of those around you and around the world. Ministry is not so much a career or a kind of episodic volunteerism; for every believer it’s a lifestyle we’ve been called to. The problem is that we don’t naturally have the desire to make personal sacrifices for the sake of ministry to others, and we need training. God uses suffering to make us both willing and ready to be part of what he’s doing in the lives of others. No passage captures this better than 2 Corinthians 1:3–9:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
God causes us to long for and experience his comfort so that we would be ready to be agents of his comfort in the lives of others. This means that our suffering has ministry in view. Your hardships qualify you to be part of the most wonderful and important work in the universe.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not always sympathetic and compassionate. I’m not always tender and generous in the face of the trials of others. But God has used my weakness, confusion, and fear to soften my heart and make me much more willing and able to enter into the trials of others with an understanding and compassionate heart. We all know that we don’t own the blessings in our lives, that we are meant to pass them forward into the lives of others, but this passage confronts us with the fact that even our sufferings belong to the Lord for his use. Suffering is meant not to drive us inside ourselves but to lead us out to offer to others the beautiful hope, comfort, joy, and security that God has given us.
Notice how this passage ends. Like Paul, God will give us stories to tell, stories of how God met us in our darkest moments of panic and doom. He gives us stories to tell about how he lifts us up, gives us hope, brings peace to our hearts, and meets our needs. We tell others our stories not to point to us, but to point to God so that those to whom we minister will find their comfort in him too. Where has God given you stories of suffering and comfort so that you can bring comfort to those around you who are suffering?
4. Suffering Teaches Us That This World Is Not Our Final Home (2 Cor. 4:16–5:5)
Pay careful attention to the following passage:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. >For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Cor. 4:16–5:5)
This passage is all about spiritual preparation. It’s important to understand that this world isn’t your final destination. When you live with a here-and-now mentality, you want this life to be as comfortable, predictable, pleasurable, successful, and enjoyable as it can be. Like the old commercial said, “You only go around once in life: Go for all the gusto you can.” But the Bible is very clear that this is not all we have. It’s clear that what God is doing in the here and now is working to prepare us for the final destination.
We’re all like pilgrims on a great spiritual journey, living in the uncomfortable world of tents and temporary locations. All the hardship and loss we face are designed by God to prepare us for our eternal home. God is working through hardship to pry open our hands and loosen our hearts from our tight grip on the here and now. He’s working to release us from the hope that this present world will ever be the paradise that our hearts long for. He’s employing suffering to produce in our hearts a deep and motivating longing for a much, much better home, the eternal home that’s the promise of his grace to us all. And he’s given us his Spirit right now as the all-access pass to that home. Like a ticket that guarantees entrance, we carry the Spirit around with us to remind us that there’s a home waiting for us where we’ll be welcomed and taken in forever.
What we suffer isn’t a failure of God’s plan but a tool to bring us in line with God’s plan so that we’ll love what he’s prepared for us more than we love our present comfort. Where is there evidence in your life that you’ve been living with a destination mentality?
This article is adapted from Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Paul David Tripp.
"Christ-Centered Practice in Discipleship Ministry" Colossians 1:28-29
On this day in American history November 19, 1863 the main dedication address at the dedication ceremony two hour speech delivered by Edward Everett . . . In the wake of such a performance, Lincoln’s brief speech (just 272 words long) would hardly seem to have drawn notice. However, despite some criticism from his opposition, it was widely quoted and praised and soon came to be recognized as one of the classic utterances of all time, a masterpiece of prose poetry. On the day following the ceremony, Everett himself wrote to Lincoln, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.” The central idea with two verses by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28-29. Last week Christ-Centered Service in Gospel Ministry. This week Christ-Centered Practice in Discipleship Ministry.
First, Such Proclamation of Christ With Our Focus on Him [v. 28a] “We proclaim Him . . .” which literally means “He whom we ourselves proclaim . . .” Instead of the depreciation of Christ by the heretics against the Colossae Christians there is the declaration of Christ for the Colossians [cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Philippians 1:15-18]. What would Paul emphasize? What would you emphasize? Message about his life, His works, His words, His teaching and ministry. Message about His person, His glory, His sacrifice, His Coming again. Message about His incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation. How long could you proclaim Him [Remember verses 15-20]. “Contrasts with the false teacher's style of speech, which finds its parallel in much modern talk. Their business was to argue and refine and speculate. They sat in a lecturer's chair; we stand in a preacher's pulpit. If the Christian minister allows the philosopher in him to overpower the herald, and substitutes his thoughts about the message or his arguments in favour of it for the message itself, he abdicates his office.” The Christian Ministry, Alexander McClaren]
Second, Such Proclamation of Christ With The Emphasis on People [v. 28b] Notice the emphasis “every [sing] person [sing]” with this phrase is repeated again and again. Three times by Paul demonstrating the individual and intentional concern. Disciple-making ministry on an individual and personal level. This means the mission of such discipleship ministry is Intentional, Personal, and Biblical.
Third, Such Proclamation of Christ With Wisdom In The Word [v. 28c] Here we see the method of discipleship ministry. See the words used by Paul to describe the activity “admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom . . .” Both throughout this epistle [and the Gospels and Other Epistles] Both Present active participles meaning the present activity. Both is these verbs used in Colossians 3:16. There is admonishing [directing on the path of the Word] described as corrected & exhorted. This includes warn, instruct, as giving instructions in regard to belief or behavior. Consider the words of Jesus about self-righteous, unforgiveness, selfishness, unrighteousness, wickedness, deceitfulness. Correcting and exhorting both error and evil. Then there is teaching [helping in the way of knowledge] described as instructed & directed. Here the content is knowledge/intellect primarily has to do with imparting insight and knowledge. Consider all of the truths, promises, blessings, parables, and prophecies given in the Bible, especially in the words of Jesus we have studied in John 13-16. Instructing and directing both grace and truth [cf. John 1:14-15]. The distinction of these "admonishing" as an act that impacts the will and "teaching" as an act that instructs the mind which transforms hearts and changes lives, “Both of the acts of "admonishing" and "teaching" are essential in our work of proclaiming Christ. It isn't enough for people to be informed of the truths of the gospel; they must also be urged to place their trust in those truths and apply them in a practical way to their lives. And likewise, it isn't enough to simply warn people and admonish them to live for Christ; we must also teach and inform them in the truth of who He is and what it means to live for Him.” [READ Colossians 2:5-8]
Fourth, Such Proclamation of Christ For The Purpose of God [v. 28d] “ . . . so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” Remember what Paul said in 1:22. Having this purpose in mind in your own life as you seek to admonish and teach others, and also receiving admonishing and teaching in your Christian life. It is not our agenda which matters but the purpose of God to be complete in Christ. He who matures a person and makes a person complete in Himself. READ Ephesians 4:12-14 where Christ is the mature man.
Fifth, Such Proclamation of Christ With The Power of God [v. 29] “For this purpose also I labor . . .” All of the verbs in the present tense meaning how paul is presently and personally working according to the work of Christ in him as His servant [cf. Ephesians 1:19-20 and Colossians 4:12] This phrase could be translated “great effort by one who labors.” And then he states, “striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” Expositors says; “The struggle is carried on in proportion, not to his natural powers, but to the mightily working energy of Christ within him.”
In these two verses we find the central idea of discipleship. Christ-Centered Practice in Discipleship Ministry. Here are a few concluding comments. Let us proclaim Christ more and tell others Who He Is & What He has done. All of our admonishing and teaching should put Christ in His rightful place. Make the effort of your ministry by His power and not our own strength. Our discipleship ministry must focus on Christ with emphasis on people with wisdom in the Word for the purpose of God with the power of God
Gettysburg Address, world-famous speech delivered by U.S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln at the dedication (November 19, 1863) of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War (July 1–3, 1863).
The main address at the dedication ceremony was a two-hour speech delivered by Edward Everett, the best-known orator of the time. Steeped in the tradition of ancient Greek oratory, Everett’s speech was some 13,000 words long, but he delivered it without notes. It included allusions to the Battle of Marathon and comparisons with the English Civil Wars, the War of the Roses, and wars in German, French, and Italian history, along with a dissection of the Confederate “rebellion” and an exhaustive description of the events leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg and of the battle itself. Everett concluded by saying:
’The whole earth,’ said Pericles, as he stood over the remains of his fellow-citizens, who had fallen in the first year of the Peloponnesian War,-’the whole earth is the sepulchre of illustrious men.’ All time, he might have added, is the millennium of their glory. Surely I would do no injustice to the other noble achievements of the war, which have reflected such honor on both arms of the service, and have entitled the armies and the navy of the United States, their officers and men, to the warmest thanks and the richest rewards which a grateful people can pay. But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country there will be no brighter page than that which relates THE BATTLES OF GETTYSBURG.
In the wake of such a performance, Lincoln’s brief speech (just 272 words long) would hardly seem to have drawn notice. However, despite some criticism from his opposition, it was widely quoted and praised and soon came to be recognized as one of the classic utterances of all time, a masterpiece of prose poetry. On the day following the ceremony, Everett himself wrote to Lincoln, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
The text quoted in full below represents the fifth of five extant copies of the address in Lincoln’s handwriting; it differs slightly from earlier versions and may reflect, in addition to afterthought, interpolations made during the delivery.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
THERE IS A TIME , we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men
To glory or despair.
There is a line by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and his wrath.
To pass that limit is to die,
To die as if by stealth;
It does not quench the beaming eye,
Or pale the glow of health.
The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirits light and gay;
That which is pleasing still may please,
And care be thrust away.
But on that forehead God has set
Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man, for man as yet
Is blind and in the dark.
And yet the doomed man's path below
May bloom as Eden bloomed;
He did not, does not, will not know,
Or feel that he is doomed.
He knows, he feels that all is well,
And every fear is calmed;
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell,
Not only doomed, but damned.
Oh! where is that mysterious bourne
By which our path is crossed;
Beyond which, God himself hath sworn,
That he who goes is lost.
How far may we go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end, and where begin
The confines of despair?
An answer from the skies is sent;
“Ye that from God depart,
While it called to-day, repent,
And harden not your heart.”
"When we think of our Lord we remember with his person the glorious work which he undertook and finished on our behalf. Being found in fashion as mail he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, he took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, because we had failed in our service, and could not be saved unless another did suit and service on our behalf. The heir of all things girded himself to be among us as one that serveth. What service his was! How arduous! how humble! how heavy! how all-consuming! His was a life of grief and humiliation, followed by a death of agony and scorn. Up to the cross he carried all our load, and on the cross he bore, that we might never bear, his Father’s righteous wrath. Oh, what has not Christ done for us? He has cast our sins into the depths of the sea: he has taken the cup which we ought to have drunk for ever, and he has drained it dry, and left not a dreg behind. He has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; and now he has finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and gone up to his Father’s throne within the veil, bearing his divine oblation, and making everything right and safe for us, that by-and-by we may follow him, and be with him where he is. Oh yes, brethren, Christ’s person and finished work are the pillars of our hope. I cannot think of what he is, and what he has done, and what he is doing, and what he will yet do, without saying, “He is all my salvation and all my desire.” "Christ in You" Charles Spurgeon
Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp  Lesson Five November 15, 2023
Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp  Lesson Four November 8, 2023
Ambitious to be like God, Adam and Eve partook of forbidden fruit (Gen 3:1–7). Ambitious to be like God, Satan asked Jesus to worship him (Matt 4:9). Ambitious to be like God, man denies his God and seeks abomination instead (Ps 14:1–3). Even as Christians, unholy ambition remains latent inside and lurks deep within our hearts. Ambition is not always evil. A man who applies himself well and excels in his skills will stand among kings as his reward (Prov 22:29). Ezra was skillful in his work and stood before the king while enjoying the favorable hand of the Lord (Ezra 7:6). Good ambition seeks the glory of God in every way (cf. Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 15:28). But, like Adam, Eve, and Satan mentioned above, ambition can be evil, which is why we must hold our ambitious hearts in check.
Let Others Speak Your Praises
The book of Proverbs repeatedly reminds us not to seek our own glory in a self-serving way. We should not promote ourselves before others, lest we find our self-evaluation wrong and receive a demotion instead. The king will call us to himself if we are truly worthy (Prov 25:6–7). Our praise should come from others and not ourselves (Prov 27:2). As Jesus said, we should sit at the end of the table and wait for him to honor us as he desires (Luke 14:7–11; cf. Matt 20:20–28).
Ambition Fulfilled Might Rob You of Personal Joy
I remember a story of a celebrity killing himself because he achieved all the fame in the world and still found himself empty inside. Your greatest ambition fulfilled will still fall short of the joy of heaven. The Proverbs use the metaphor of honey to speak directly and indirectly to this matter. An ambitious man who ingloriously seeks his glory is like one who indulges himself with honey (Prov 25:27). Perhaps a good man might incidentally receive the sweetness of man’s praise, but even then, he should not seek it. Any praise from man is more than enough, and seeking it out will sicken the soul (cf. Prov 25:16). Gorging one’s soul on praise is like eating too much honey, leaving the sinner unsatisfied and unhappier than before (Prov 27:7). In fact, if a man is never satisfied with whatever glory he receives, it may be that he is guided from below (cf. Prov 27:20). Like Adam, Eve, or Satan, he will only stop when he takes the place of God, which God will not allow. A heart with this ambition can only bring darkness to the soul. (The Antichrist also comes to mind: cf. 2 Thess 2:4, 9.)
Self-Praise Means Nothing Before God
Paul dealt with ambitious false teachers from time to time (e.g., all of 2 Corinthians). Whereas they boasted in themselves, he told them to boast in the Lord instead (2 Cor 10:17; cf. Jer 9:23–24). Self-approval yields no commendation from God (2 Cor 10:18). The only thing that makes us worth anything in his eyes is Christ’s righteousness by faith. Like Apelles, a name likely unremembered by most (and even me until I just reread his name), we are “approved in Christ” (Rom 16:10). We can be a “nobody” in the eyes of man but righteous in the eyes of God, which is all the approval we need.
Man’s Glory Means Nothing in the Church
A classic passage to address the wrongful promotion of men within the church is 1 Corinthians 1–4. Some promoted Apollos, and others, Peter, Paul, or Jesus. (Jesus seems like a good option, but, given their context, it seemed pious as it meant the rejection of Apollos, Peter, and Paul.) Paul wanted the Corinthians to glorify God through all of these servants as they were used to grow the church (1 Cor 3:6–9). If we find ourselves ambitious, even within the church, we must remember that God above is the one to commend and no one from man below, including our own selves (1 Cor 4:1–5).
A Final Word
Ambition ruined Satan forever and Adam and Eve for a time. Thankfully, when Jesus was tempted with the world, he chose the Father’s cross over Satan’s crown. And then, in reward for his faithful obedience, God raised him up, exalted him, and placed him on his throne.
May God help us to be like Christ and keep our ambitious hearts in check. May we be satisfied with the Father’s approval of us in Christ. Knowing that God will graciously glorify us in time, may our greatest ambition be the glory of God alone.
Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp  Lesson Three October 25, 2023
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.