Believers’ suffering is a gift of grace which brings power. Not just power but there is an eternal reward being assured for those who are willing to endure suffering for a while. “For to you, it has been granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 2:29).” When we read the Word “granted,” we should think of grace. Suffering for Christ’s sake is about being graced and empowered to follow Jesus’ example. It is commendable before God, it’s not a sin, and we should not respond in anger, hostility, bitterness, discontent, pride or rebellion. When we suffer for a little while and do good with it, it’s highly commendable in God’s eyes. Christ is our prime example. He was first a suffering servant before becoming a saving servant. He laid down his precious life for us and endured the cross before sitting on the throne with a crown. As long as we have been called and walk on this journey of salvation, we will have to suffer. Why? Because we believe in Him. While following in his footsteps daily, we have to endure unfair treatment. Christ is the pattern we must follow in suffering so that we can persevere in perfect patience.
Those who endure persecution, suffering, opposition, reviling, false accusations, and betrayal for the sake of Christ and His unshakable kingdom have a greater reward in heaven. We don’t suffer because we have done wrong or sinned in some way; in some cases, it’s for God’s glory. Because we follow Christ’s pattern, all these light afflictions and sufferings must come; they are inevitable in our salvation. For us to demonstrate and manifest God’s power in our lives, we must be subjected to suffering. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:17 wrote, “for our light affliction, which lasts but a moment, is working us into a weight of glory as exceeding and eternal as death itself.” The suffering he experienced was endless; he boasted on the cross and, bearing the marks of Christ, was not ashamed of suffering for Christ’s sake. He believed in Him, and the grace was always sufficient for him to endure until he fought the good fight and finished his race. After being hard pressed on every side yet not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed, all these could not hinder or obstruct him from fulfilling the purposes of God. He was ready to be delivered to death for Jesus’s sake so that the life of Jesus might be manifested in his mortal flesh. He died daily, and what a confession that is.
The gift of grace worked within him, and it enabled him to endure all things while clinging to a hope that never disappoints. Due to his unbearable suffering, he developed an unbeatable, unstoppable and invincible divine power that made him endure and persevere.
He always rejoiced in his suffering, even when in prison. He was Christ-centred and mission-minded, he was a minister of reconciliation.
He was experiencing the persecution and suffering intended for Christ. He didn’t just believe in Christ, but he also purposed to suffer for Him; without looking back, Paul’s motivation for enduring all the suffering was to benefit and build Christ’s Church. So let’s learn and acquire the same mind as Paul? In the end, we suffer for the glory of God for a while and for our highest interests. How will Christ get the glory if we can’t endure?
How will the Holy Spirit generate power in us if we can’t endure suffering? Not only to believe in Him but to suffer for Him as well.
Steps to believe in Him
- Accept His Will and His Word. Submission is a fundamental attitude of spiritual maturity. Submitting is a simple word, but it only takes a circumcised and obedient heart to submit with the spirit of the fear of God in one’s life.
- Surrender to His Word, lordship, kingship, leadership, authorship, discipline, guidance and commandments. His Word is His Will; believing in Him while suffering is the only way to help us surrender our lives to Him. His Word generates and inserts grace in us to endure.
2 Timothy 3:12
Persecution will not spare you; it will always arise from any corner, especially when you stand for truth in the Word and do not compromise on anything. Divine oracles are not to be diluted. Instead, we should be armoured for that and believe in Him till the end. We must not allow persecution to draw us back and make us enemies of the cross.
Suffering for His Sake
1 Peter 5:10.
Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus, lived through all of these. He was one of the eyewitnesses of Christ’s suffering. He knew that suffering is not permanent but just for a while, and a reward is also awaiting.
Suffering for Doing Good
1 Peter 4:13.
When you believe in Him, you always want to please God, not men. As much as we try to do good, we will always have some who will not even consider it but will find a way of diminishing and devaluing us. You can be a minister who is out there trying to reconcile people to Christ and sharing about salvation. However, you may also find opposition from people. That should not hinder us from planting that seed in them; it might seem it has fallen on deaf ears, but in the fullness of time, the Spirit of God will convict them, so keep planting the seed and suffering for Christ’s sake.
Acts 5:41 shows how suffering for Christ and for His name led the apostles to rejoice and be counted worthy of suffering shame for His name. They steadfastly believed in Him; He was life and death for them. They didn’t compromise even at the point of death. As long as we have a relationship with Christ grafted into us, suffering is inevitable. The good news is all this suffering produces rich spiritual benefits. As partakers of Christ, we must expect persecution and suffering at the hand of the Christ-rejecting world. It is necessary that we strengthen ourselves daily. To continue in the journey of faith with unwavering confidence, we must rely on God’s sufficient grace, strengthen our souls, and support others. In order to enter the kingdom of God, we must dwell in the secret place, and look unto the Author and Finisher of our race.
The grace of God has been commended to us in our walk and work of salvation. We have the gift of God’s grace given to us by the effectual working of His power.
God’s grace is preeminent in every aspect of salvation. Suffering generates divine power to enable us to endure. Suffering is a gift of grace that gives us power. Suffering draws us near to the throne of grace to receive and obtain grace and mercy help in times of need. Suffering strengthens the gift of grace Suffering deepens our intimate relationship with Christ.
If we are suffering for Christ’s sake, well and good, we should rejoice regardless of what people say. It is not easy to carry the cross, to lay down our lives for others, to die every day, and to bear the marks of Christ on our bodies. This is following Christ’s pattern obediently and faithfully without compromising, murmuring, lamenting, or complaining. We will go through suffering in ministry, marriage, business, families, and relationships as epistles of Christ and the light of the world. The world, unbelievers and believers should see Christ in us. After suffering for a while, the God of all grace will perfect, strengthen, establish, and settle us. Accept suffering for Christ’s sake and believe in Him daily. The greater the suffering, the greater the eternal glory.
By Maxmiller Naliaka Mangeni