Why We Should Suffer

            It was this Sunday morning at church, when the issue of suffering was addressed to me once again.  My pastor started his sermon by throwing a difficult phrase at us, “Christians should not only desire but accept suffering.”  “No one wants to suffer,” I thought to myself, but then as I continued to listen, more and more I desired this passion.  I Peter 4:12-13 states, “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.”  We should rejoice in our suffering of Christ, rejoice when someone strikes us down for what we believe in.

            We could easily avoid this whole suffering issue if we really wanted to.  To avoid suffering for Christ all you would have to do is keep your mouth shut; but to know that there are people who do not know the truth and could discover that truth about God should encourage all Christians to speak out and suffer for Christ.  Matthew 5:10-12 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is you reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.” Jesus is not saying in this passage poor you, but he is saying “blessed are you,” for those who suffer for God will receive their treasure in heaven.

            No one wants to suffer for nothing, there has to be a just cause.  It is easier to take the blame for someone else and even easier to suffer for ones you love.  As a Christian, we are in a relationship with Christ, a “love” relationship.  If we love God then why don’t we risk our lives for Him?  Why are we careful in every decision we make?  Is this what we call suffering for Christ? 

“Christians should not only desire but accept suffering” 

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.                                                            Philippians 3:10

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