what was Jesus’ secret?
The Lord impressed upon me the goal to memorize Romans 8 at the beginning of 2013. Little did I know that I would gain a life-changing teaching through it.
Tucked in the very middle of the passage, the Spirit-inspired truth of my status in Christ causes me to live from a new perspective.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:17).
I asked the Lord, “What sufferings shall I share in as your child and a co-heir with Christ?” To be honest, I see sufferings within the lives of God’s people all the time, but I want to know what are the legitimate sufferings. (Not everything we go through is the perfect will of the Father; sometimes we unknowingly make agreements with the enemy. Remember, he is the deceiver!) To discern God’s good, pleasing and perfect will, our minds must be renewed by the truth (Romans 12:2). If we avoid doing so, we “are destroyed from a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
I traced the steps of Jesus’ journey: His baptism, His times of fasting and prayer, the enemy’s temptation, teachings on heavenly realities, miracles, persecution, death and resurrection. I learned His secret: He only spoke what He heard the Father speaking, and He only did what He saw the Father doing.
Christ suffered in a time of extended fasting. We know He suffered because the enemy’s temptation of turning stones to bread targeted the Lord’s all-consuming physical weakness. He was hungry. Why didn’t He break the fast and start eating? Because He only did what He saw the Father doing.
I’m not convinced that Jesus, being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, carried a signed agreement to fast for forty days. I’m quick to believe that when He saw the Father eating, He knew He had been released from the fast.
Have you shared in His sufferings during a time of fasting?
Why would I abstain from food, you ask? Because we only do what we see the Father doing! If the Spirit leads you to a time of fasting, you will want to follow. Heavenly riches await you in that season- things that would otherwise fail to be manifest on the earth as they are in heaven. Jesus spoke about a time in which His physical absence will lead His followers to fast.
Christ suffered in times of temptation. We all are tempted, but the eternally significant difference is, Jesus did not sin. Not even once. We all have fallen short of the glory of God, and that is why the blood of Christ is needed; its perfection cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
You will continue to suffer temptation, but trust in God that He will always give you an escape. “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Again, Jesus’ secret is He did what He saw the Father doing. Follow suit, dear child. You shall not fall away when you suffer under temptation.
Another suffering of our Lord is the broken heart He had for those who rejected Him. He wept for Jerusalem and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes… because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:42,44). God gave His best when He gave Jesus, yet the gift has been refused by many and will continue to be overlooked right up until the time of Jesus’ return. It breaks the Father’s heart because He desires that none would perish.
Do you also suffer brokenness for those who reject Christ?
Jesus suffered the hatred of those who refused to believe Him to be the Son of God. He prepared us to suffer the same. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first” (John 15:18). Persecution is expected if you are connected to Jesus. You and I will suffer because of His Name. But, do not fear- the mistreatment we endure is bearable because of the Presence of the Holy Spirit with us. We are never left alone, and because of that truth, God will make Himself known to others in the midst of our persecution.
Early in my journey with the Lord Jesus, I asked the Father if I could avoid unnecessary suffering. What I meant was, if I seek to follow You, God, can I avoid some hardships that otherwise would come as a result of foolishness? It was an honest inquiry of my child-like heart, and I believe the Father was delighted in my seeking His wisdom. I also believe His answer is, “Yes.” You see, Romans 8 is all about being in step with the Spirit and the rewards that come as a result. God is the blessing- giver, and His plan is to prosper us with life and peace (Romans 8:6).
Yet, if I am to share in the glory of King Jesus, I must anticipate Christ-like sufferings. However, there is one exception: you and I will never suffer to atone for sin, nor will we be broken physically in order for another to be made whole. That was the work of the Cross, and Jesus paid the price once and for all! If you are hidden in Christ, then your sin is removed from you and your life is free from shame. If you are hidden in Christ, your life is defined by His ability to overcome hell, death and the grave. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is also at work in you (Ephesians 1:19), so except nothing short of the conquering lifestyle of the Lord.