While studying the book of Revelation this week I was inspired to write about suffering. The kind of suffering that comes with rewards both on earth and in heaven. The kind of suffering that is brought on by faith in Jesus Christ. The kind of suffering all believers encounter along their walk toward God’s kingdom.
One thing is clear. If you are a genuine believer in Christ and have not suffered for your faith, you will. Should you be afraid? Though it is normal to fear the unknown, it is also written that we are to trust in the Lord’s plan for our lives and that as Christians, we are bound to suffer for our faith.
The good news is that there are many positives sides to suffering because and for our faith in Jesus. Many examples of this can be found in the bible.
Suffering for your faith in Jesus Christ proves you’re a genuine believer. “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Suffering for our faith keeps us out of hell. “And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:13-15)
Faith driven suffering on earth does not compare to the rewards that await us in heaven. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
Suffering for our faith in Jesus produces Christ like character. “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Suffering for our faith helps spread the gospel of Christ. While imprisoned and in chains, Paul said: “I want you to know, brethren, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brethren have been made confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment, and are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
In those same verses Paul mentions the opportunity to witness to those who otherwise would not hear the word of God. In that sense we are to continue looking at every opportunity to spread the gospel to anyone and everyone around us.
Suffering for our faith also keeps us humble. “And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Suffering for our faith in Christ keeps us centered on God’s road and maintains our commitment to God’s will. “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2)
Have you ever suffered for your faith? Is God using you to bring others to Him? Take a good look at your life and the trail you are leaving behind you as you walk your spiritual road and you will see who’s road you’re on. Since no one person can worship two gods, you are either on your way to heaven or, hell.
There is really no way to ready ourselves for the first death that is the death of the flesh. However we can live our lives so to avoid the second death which is described as much worse than the first one. Follow in Jesus’ footsteps and obey His commands. Become more like Christ and you will be ready to suffer for your faith in the Son of God.
We thank you for forgiving our sins
And for your inspiration in our lives,
We thank you for your all mightiness
And for your strong hand in directing us.
Lord father we ask that you continue to shine your light bright,
Upon those who walk in obedience and those who seek you
And help us serve you and lead others to you in this life
So we all can rejoice with you in the next.
God please lay your hand on critical hearts, our friends and families
Enlighten us with your gratefulness Lord
And guide our footsteps each and every day.
God we thank you for all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre