“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”Romans 8:18 –

What does it mean for a Christian to suffer? Is it inherent in our Christian walk?

The idea of suffering is not something we want to undergo. As humans, our nature avoids it at all costs. Yet as followers of Christ, we may find it to be unavoidable… if it is for the cause of Christ.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”Matthew 7:9-10

Our God is good… and He only wants the best for us. Once we understand this key attribute of God, we will see that He does not send suffering our way. God may need to discipline us when we go astray. Yet His discipline will be that of a loving Father for His children.

We live in a fallen world where sin and evil abound. Our sin may bring consequences. This fallen world may bring grief. Yet this kind of suffering is not from God … and it is different from that endured for the cause of Christ.

“If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.”  Luke 9:23

Jesus explains to his disciples their unique calling… a call to be set apart from the world and united unto Him. Jesus endured suffering throughout His time on earth. Yet it was all done for love… love for all people. He laid down His life to save ours.

Paul endured suffering throughout his time of ministry. Yet his suffering was for the gospel. He relentlessly pursued the cause of Christ out of love for his Savior and for the unbelieving world.

Jesus has set us apart from the world, apart from sin and evil. He asks us to give up our lives for Him. Our love for our Lord causes us to want to cast aside our worldly ways and follow Him. The cross He asks of us is our uniting with Him… in His suffering and in His eternal glory. There cannot be one without the other.

“You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”John 15:19

When we stand for Christ in this world, we will endure persecution. We may not be a missionary on the front lines in the battle for the gospel. Yet we will find that our joining with Christ puts us at odds with the world and worldly people.

Our sufferings will come from the enemies of Christ. The world will hate us because of our belief. We may encounter ridicule, hostility, intimidation and rejection from unbelievers. We may face estrangement from friends and family. Yet we are chosen by Christ. There is no greater privilege!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”2 Corinthians 4:17

If our sufferings are for the cause of Christ, out of love for our Savior and God’s people, they will lead to God’s glory. As we persevere, our faith in Christ and our love for Him deepens. We are promised eternal glory with our Lord who will reward us with the crown of life everlasting. What a triumph of faith!