Nathan Schneider


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The Pastor and His Brokenness

The LORD spoke through the prophet Isaiah, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (45:22). This is the simple message of salvation. Our hope is found in turning to God and His grace. He is our only hope and there is no other way to be saved from sin and it’s consequences. This is the simple message of salvation, but it’s also the message of the Christian life. We must constantly return to the cross of Christ, where we find grace and mercy.

God also works this message in and through the preacher of the Word. Charles Spurgeon preached:

We are made to see that the Lord is God, and that beside Him there is none else. Very frequently God teaches this to the minister, by leading him to see his own sinful nature. He will have such an insight into his own wicked and abominable heart, that he will feel as he comes up the pulpit stairs that he does not deserve so much as to sit in his pew, much less to preach to his fellows. Although we feel always joy in the declaration of God’s Word, yet we have known what it is to totter on the pulpit steps, under a sense that the cheif of sinners should scarcely be allowed to preach to others. Ah! beloved, I do not think he will be very successful as a minister who is not taken into the depths and blackness of his own soul, and made to exclaim, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

God reminds the preacher of his brokenness in order to humble him and keep him dependent on the only true worker of salvation, God Himself. Spurgeon would say that God also humbles the preacher through others:

If He does not deal with them personally, He raises up a host of enemies, that it may be seen that He is God, and God alone… If every one applauded, if all were gratified, we should think ourselves God; but, when they hiss and hoot, we turn to God, and cry, “If on my face, for thy dear name, shame and reproach should be, I’ll hail reproach and welcome shame, if thou’lt remember me.”


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21 Days – Day 4

Romans 5:4, “(v. 3, Not only so, but we also praise in suffering, knowing that suffering produces perseverance;) and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Continuing to draw on the implications of suffering, Paul makes clear the spiritual benefits. So far, this is how it goes:

SUFFERING -> PERSEVERANCE

PERSEVERANCE -> CHARACTER

CHARACTER -> HOPE

To embed this line of thinking in one’s head before entering into a time of tribulation is extremely important. Imagine walking into a war zone without any instruction from your commanding officer. This only creates confusion and it puts your life in grave danger. In the same way, we must know the point of suffering before it’s too late. We must also know that suffering comes. To have a wrong theology of suffering (e.g. to say that God does allow Christians to suffer) could cause us to lose faith. Be strong and think biblically!


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21 Days – Day 3

Romans 5:3, “Not only so, but we also praise in suffering, knowing that suffering produces perseverance.”

It’s interesting to note the emphasis placed on suffering in the New Testament. From the amount of references to suffering, one thing is clear: Christians will suffer. Why? Because our Savior suffered (Col. 1:24; Phil. 1:28; 1 Pet. 2:21, etc.). This suffering is not something to despair over (although the word suffering here could include instances of despair), but rather we can be in a spirit of praise, knowing the end result, which is perseverance. What does praise look like in a time of suffering? Some suggests that the word “in” is conditional, which would simply mean that in times of suffering we rejoice. Others suggests, and probably rightly so, based on the context of Paul’s greater argument that we rejoice IN our suffering. In other words, our suffering is the object of our boasting (remember that praise can also be translated “boast”).

If this is true, which I think it is, we ought not to be scared of suffering, but embracing towards it. We should say with Paul in Philippians 3:10, “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”