1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV) But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
“After you have suffered for a while…” You won’t hear that preached in the “what’s in it for me God?” Christianity that has infected much of western culture. We just want to hear about “our best day”, blessings, prosperity, favor, abundance, etc. Biblical teaching on suffering does not build huge affluent churches.
Regardless, the Bible has much to say on the topic and guarantees suffering for the faithful even to the point of clearly telling us: if the Master suffered why is it surprising that His followers will?
- 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…
- 2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
- James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
- John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
- 1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
- Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
That’s just a small sampling of Scripture on the topic. It says something about our modern Biblical mindset when Scripture has so much to say about suffering, and we say so little about it.
We suffer because the world hates Jesus. We suffer because we proclaim a single path to salvation. We suffer because declaring something sinful convicts those who indulge. We suffer because we still live in sin-cursed bodies and a sin-cursed world.
We suffer a “little while” then comes perfection, security, strength, peace and reward. It is a small price to pay for our eternal salvation which we did not deserve, could not earn, and cost Jesus His all.
Think It Over: I have often encouraged people to consider this… if you are not, or have never, suffered in any way because of your faith, you should question the validity or depth of it. True faith in Jesus, obedience to God and devotion to Christ will always cost us – ridicule, loss of opportunity or freedom, rejection, scorn and sadly at times, physical persecution even to death. The Cross cost Jesus everything. Taking up your cross and following Him has a cost as well.