It Has Been Granted To You
1 Peter 4:1-2
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
While it is true that we are blessed, protected and prosperous in Christ, the Gospel is not complete without an understanding of Christian suffering. Similar to topics concerning holiness and obedience, suffering is another topic that many believers may shy away from in trying to be seeker-sensitive.
However, if we accept God’s promises of blessings, we must also accept His promise to suffer for His Name:
“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (Philippians 1:29)
Interestingly, the Word clearly says that God has set apart a portion of suffering for believers in Christ. Sufferings are not bad things that befall upon us by chance. Suffering after the pattern of Christ brings a believer to maturity. This kind of suffering is caused when we resist the will of man to submit to the will of God. God will steer us to places where we must choose between our desires and His will to test us. Such trials will result in us to cease living in our flesh but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
It is easy to elevate comfort over obedience. It is easy to follow Christ in the easy places only to turn aside when the path becomes tough. It is tempting to believe that God being a God of love surely wants us to be happy, at peace and prosperous all the time. Again, let us go back to the Word and see what God has revealed to us:
“We must go through many tribulations to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
Not only has God granted us on behalf of Christ to suffer for His sake, He has also ordained suffering as a means to prepare and preserve us so that we may enter into His Kingdom at the end of the Race.
Hear what the Word of God says in 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5:
We are happy to tell other churches about your patience and complete faith in God, in spite of all the crushing troubles and hardship you are going through. This is only one example of the fair, just way God does things, for He is using your suffering to make you ready for His Kingdom.
Let us be reminded today that suffering for Christ is a wonderful blessing! Suffering has been granted to us by God! It is not an afterthought! The Word reminds us in Romans 8:17 that as “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”!
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, thank You for reminding me the purpose of suffering. Forgive me if I have deemed trials in my life as things that are not from You. Today I understand that trials in Christ are only granted to people whom You call Your own. More importantly, trials and suffering in my life are means by which You make me more like Christ and make me ready for Your Kingdom. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.