This post has been written by guest blogger Pastor Andy Lee. Andy serves as lead pastor at Crossroad Community Church in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Key verses to ponder:
- 2 Corinthians 1:5 “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
- Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”
- 2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
- 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
Thoughts to consider:
Since a believer is “in Christ” by faith and this faith Paul says has been granted to us, it’s even a gift to us (Eph.2:8), then it makes sense that we will participate in His sufferings that He suffered for us. He left us an example to follow in His footsteps (1Peter 2:20-23). If He came for us and lived for us and suffered for us, then it only makes sense that as we live for Him that we will face those same trials and sufferings as his. This new union with Christ guarantees it and promises it. But will you accept it?
I John 4:9 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” In order for Jesus to live through us He must first live “in” us, that is our salvation. Our spiritual growth from the point of our salvation, till He either takes us home or He is revealed, is always going to be HOW we respond to His Christ-like sufferings which come or “flow over” into our lives. We will either flourish in it
or let it defeat us.
Where are you in the process of truly understanding and accepting the fact that you will suffer for Christ’s sake? Have you ever been slandered, insulted, mistreated, betrayed by close friends, endured verbal abuse, or been persecuted for doing what was right or for being a Christian? Realize you are not alone and realize that God is working out His Christ-like plan for your life (Rom.8:28-29). It is comforting to know that our heavenly Father has entrusted us with the sufferings of His Son. Lord, thank you for all the trials that help us become more and more like Jesus. You are worth suffering for!
Truths to apply: What is He teaching us?
- To allow His life to be lived out in us. (2Cor.4:10-11)
- Teaching us to rejoice that we are privileged to participate in suffering for Him. (Acts 5:41)
- To teach us obedience in the midst of suffering. (Heb.5:8)
- To develop endurance and perseverance in us so we won’t lack any good thing. (James 1;2-4, Romans 5:3-5, 2 Timothy 2:8-10)