You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
32 But [de] call to remembrance [anamimnesko] the former [proteron] days [hemera], in [en] which [hos], after ye were illuminated [photizo], ye endured [hupomeno] a great [polus] fight [athlesis] of afflictions [pathema];
33 Partly [touto] [men], whilst ye were made a gazingstock [theatrizo] both [te] by reproaches [oneidismos] and [kai] afflictions [thlipsis]; and [de] partly [touto], whilst ye became [ginomai] companions [koinonos] of them that were [anastrepho] so [houto] used [anastrepho].
34 For [kai] [gar] ye had compassion [sumpatheo] of me in my [mou] bonds [desmon], and [kai] took [prosdechomai] joyfully [meta] [chara] the spoiling [harpage] of your [humon] goods [huparchonta], knowing [ginosko] in [en] yourselves [heautou] that ye have [echo] in [en] heaven [ouranos] a better [kreitton] and [kai] an enduring [meno] substance [huparxis]. KJV-Interlinear
32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. NASB
Now the readers are reminded that there was a time when they were unbelievers. This goes for you and me too. From the time that we were born into this world until the moment we believed in Christ, we were all unbelievers and potentially destined for the Lake of Fire. Scary thought.
Of course as young children, if any of us had died, then we would have been saved automatically. God is fair. But once we hear the Gospel and understand its meaning, then our life is in grave jeopardy.
But, thankfully those of us who have believed in Christ, no longer face that doom. Now we have something even greater to look forward to and that is our subject here - whether or not we will persevere in our pursuit toward spiritual maturity.
In life we face many hardships. In life we face many enticements. In life we face many things that we want for ourselves and for those whom we love. So it is natural to want better and better things, and to not get left behind in this world.
The world has many neat gadgets, and many things that can pull us away from our daily study. What with social enticements, hobby enticements, career enticements and more, there is never a shortage of things that can distract us, and of which can tilt our priorities, away from our spiritual growth.
In addition, there are always the pressures of life that can get us down. It is very easy to become discouraged, disenchanted, disheartened, depressed, and so forth. We will always have monthly bills, debts to pay, things that need fixing, a crisis or two or three that just tear at the very fabric of our life.
Then we look heavenward and ask the question, 'Why?' That then becomes the big test in our life.
When we were born we were nothing more than a potential. We might believe in Christ or we might not. Once we believed in Christ then we were reborn into our spiritual life, and then we received yet another potential. We might grow up spiritually or we might not.
During our time as believers on this earth, we have doctrine to study and learn, and life to endure. The toughest part of life is the reconciliation between the two worlds - the temporal and the spiritual.
All people will face hardships in life. Your hardships will come to you as discipline because you have not been active in your spiritual life, or your hardships will come to you as a test of your faith because you have been active in your spiritual life.
Two people get hammered by a tornado. One does not have an effective spiritual life and therefore the discipline from God in the form of the tornado is there to remind the person that he/she needs to get their act together. They are not invincible in this life. A little spinning air is more powerful than the strongest or smartest person.
The other person receives this trouble in their life in the form of a test. 'Do you trust in God more than you trusted in the things that you just lost?' God gives and God takes. The discouraged person fails the test and life resumes until the next test. The person who is strong in faith knows that God will restore all that was lost, and more. He passes the test and his spiritual growth accelerates to new heights.
The big danger here is to the one who is weak in their faith. We can all suffer in life and lose things, but it is an even greater loss if we know the promises of God, suffer, and fall away in our anger or self pity or discouragement.
We will all face pressures in life. Can't get around that. But to suffer and then throw away our only hope is more than a disaster in life, it is down right foolish.
One of the great things in life is something that we all see in the movies. You know, the ones where the hero has an easy time, then disaster strikes and the hero faces many insurmountable barriers which makes it seem like life and everything is against him, but some how he manages to come out on top and of course everyone in the movie audience is in tears by the end of the show.
Well that is your reality in life. The audience is made up of innumerable angels in the heavens. We are watched, and when we fail they probably shake their heads. But when we succeed in our spiritual life, then there is cheering in heaven.
You are the star of your very own life story. You can look at life, be a jerk and fail as a loser or a villain, or you can look at life as your very own personal adventure and come out a winner, a hero.
Which makes the more 'cool' story?
With your every thought and action, you are writing your own story.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.