Suffering for Christ

Paul the Apostle, Russian icon from first quar...

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The title may have caught some of you off guard. A current trend in the modern church is that we are all supposed to “feel good and be happy and have money in the bank”. The cold hard truth is that this is a rarity in most homes and churches. The pursuit of those things is wonderful, I support Dave Ramsey fans out there, before the emails begin. I can’t seem to read a blog, hear a sermon online, or read a Christian book without the message of “feeling good” tossed in there somewhere.

The apostle Paul, had never heard of this FG (feel good) teaching. As a matter of fact, Paul is quoted saying, “I want to suffer as Christ suffered”. Nowhere in there did Paul mention his brand new sports car, his wonderful business endeavour, or his brilliant children who received the best educations that money could buy outside of the public school system. If you are one of the parents who have been able to provide those things, then count yourselves blessed, and I praise God that you were blessed to that extent.

However, the televangelists would have you believe that as a Christian you are supposed to have life on a silver platter, and that’s just not accurate. Paul in his travels suffered. He suffered because he wanted to be as much like Jesus as possible, who we all know suffered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should flog ourselves and hop on a cross and be poked with a spear. My point is that things are not always peachy, and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen leave their faith because life didn’t fulfill all of their dreams just because they were Christians. That’s simply not how it works. While not all televangelists share those talking points, many do.

We are to suffer. If we want to be like Christ, and remember you can’t spell Christian without Christ, we have to suffer. Not necessarily like Jesus did, but suffering will happen none the less. You will have Satan attack you when you are at a low point in your faith already, maybe after a tragedy in the family, or a financial crisis. You will find it easier just to walk away from God and do things by the world’s standards. But like the scripture says “Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world”. God’s way may be harder, it may take longer, it may cause some lost friendships, but look at what it offers. Take a look sometime at the “Fruits of the Spirit” and then compare them to the “Acts of the Flesh”. My friends, I pray you can understand today that suffering generates progress. Suffering is an early indicator of spiritual growth and getting closer to God.

My faith wavered more in the first half of last year than it ever has. Here I am though, doing my best to rise above the worldly lifestyle and move forward in my work in Jesus’ name instead of doing it for myself. So often I’ve heard Christians brag about the gifts God has given them, gifts of singing, of teaching, of whatever-ing, and so often I’ve caught myself wishing God would take that gift from them because it was becoming more important to them than their faith was! They ceased to acknowledge that the only reason they have the talent to begin with is because GOD allows them to.

Suffering.

What happened when Paul suffered for Christ? He led more men and women to God than anyone in history. Not for him to be able to brag about it, but for God to receive the glorious result of his actions. What happened when Jesus suffered? The world found salvation. The world once again had a choice between Heaven and Hell. You and I are examples of what happens when people suffer. Don’t think that whoever led you to Jesus did not suffer in trying to explain to you the importance of finding Jesus. I imagine most of the aunts, uncles, parents, school teachers, and people from all walks of life sitting around, neglecting their own responsibilities just to work with, on, and for you. Just to pray for you. Just to figure out how to talk to you about God. And here you are, saved by grace in Christ Jesus. You see the point today? The point is not about the suffering at all, it’s that the suffering is only the foreword of the novel that God is writing in your life, the fruits of your life-tree will be the reward for all of it.

Finding yourself in Heaven one day, will be the reward to end all rewards! The suffering is not the lifestyle, it is only the beginning of the lifestyle that a real Christian leads, it comes and goes your whole life through, but one thing that does not come and go is the outcome of the choice you made to live in Christ Jesus.

God bless you,

Chris

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4 Responses to “Suffering for Christ”

  1. Scott Shifferd Jr. Says:

    Amen.

  2. Brian Lee Says:

    Scott-
    Thanks for writing this article. Suffering is definetely not at the top of anyone’s list of things they would sign up for, but what I’ve found is that in our suffering we can also be encouraged by the Holy Spirit and draw closer to God. Five years ago I lost my dad to a heart attack and almost lost my mom on the same night to the same thing – it was totally unexpected and I was unprepared for such an event in my life. In my time of helplessness I found myself drawn to God through praise and worship of Him. In my time of weakness I was surprised to find the strength I had in Him, especially when some of the national news media began to cover our story. If you’d like to know more about the story, go to http://championsinchrist.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/broken-heart-syndrome/. If not, thanks again for taking the time to write this article and sharing it with everyone. God bless!

  3. Ibrahim Says:

    DEAR FOUNDER,

    I BRING YOU GREETINGS IN JESUS MIGHTY NAME FROM KENYA…..I AM SO HAPPY TO LET YOU KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING IN KENYA…..I AM PASTOR IBRAHIM . I HAVE 3 CHURCHES {156 MEMBERS }AND CARING 25 ORPHANS WHO ARE UNDER MY CARE…..I HAVE SEEN YOUR WEBSITE AND INSPIRED WHAT YOU ARE DOING THERE BY INSPIRATION OF HOLY SPIRIT. I AM WRITING THIS EMAIL TO YOU TODAY, YOU ARE DOING REALLY WONDERFUL MINISTRIES. LORD IS RICHLY BLESSING YOU .. I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING YOUR WEBSITE HERE IN KENYA AND PRAYING NOW THREE MONTHS AGO.,. I AM SO SO HAPPY FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN THE VINEYARD OF THE LORD . PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR US AND HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH THIS POOR MINISTRY IN KENYA ….IF THE LORD WILLS, PLEASE COME AND PREACH IN OUR CRUSADES SPEAK TO PASTORS/ LEADERS CONFERENCE AND HEALING REVIVALS TO SAVE PERISHING SOULS IN KENYA.THANKING YOU ….

    HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

    MUCH LOVE

    IBRAHIM

  4. best of Gospel Says:

    best of Gospel…

    […]Suffering for Christ « Inspired Ministries[…]…

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