Why must we suffer for Christ? As we fast approach the end of days this is one question you want answered. The Bible says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on … him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Phi 1:29). There are many kinds of suffering. Some suffer because of their own wicked lifestyle or bad behavior, which is not suffering for the cause of Christ. It deeply saddens me to see Christians caught up in all manner of wickedness and paying the price for their bad behavior. I have counseled many a Christian to make the right decision to only see them make just the opposite causing them untold suffering and pain. Clearly many reap what they have sown casting a dark shadow on them, their family and the Christian community.
Others will suffer because of the wickedness of others, not because they are necessarily a Christian, but because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. In a world filled with evil predators, being street wise, and taking all the extra precautions will not always protect you from an onslaught of tragedy. Again, these unfortunate people cannot claim they have suffered for the cause of Christ. However, in the later case God can and will use such suffering (trials and tribulations) for your eternal good for the good of others depending on how well you stand up under it.
Another type of suffering which will greatly increase in the last days is through famine, disease, plagues, and all manner of so called natural disasters. Again we cannot claim that this suffering is for the cause of Christ. I cannot stress how important it is to allow these trials and tribulations have their full effect. I know at this point many will be tempted to ask, “Why is God allowing this to happen to me or to my family!” Many of us have already experienced the horrific outcome of an earthquake, flooding, hurricane, tornado, or a raging forest fire. We may have already experienced the extreme pain of a debilitating disease or one of the many plagues descending upon the planet. And as they increase in number and severity it is essential that we understand God’s role in it and our Christian response.
The best starting place is to look at it from God’s vantage point, to look at it from an eternal perspective. Almost always we tend to look at things from a very limited perception. We are so caught up in the immediate pain and the trauma of the moment it is very difficult to see or grasp what is happening. If we look at our suffering from God’s eternal perspective then our tragic circumstance is only a millisecond in comparison to eternity. Moreover, God will use our experience to strengthen our character and total dependence on Him. If we approach our suffering with the right attitude knowing that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and if we allow our perseverance to finish its work then we will be made mature and complete lacking nothing. (See James 1:2-4) As the metal passes through the furnace to remove the dross and strengthen the alloy so we too must pass through the furnace of affliction to be made perfect in Christ Jesus.
On the other hand, very few in the Untied States actually suffer for the cause of Christ. Why is that? Simply put it is because they are so similar to others; their sameness will not allow them to suffer, but if they were truly different from the world then they would suffer. This is another reason why tolerance is so popular in today’s world because they can appear to be the same and not take a course of being different which would always bring about swift rebuke from the world. As we near the end there will be two kinds of Christian, one that will look and act just like the world, while the other will grow further apart from the world looking more like Jesus Christ. This later group, which we will refer to as true believers in Christ will suffer persecution as polarization increases between good and evil. However we view suffering we must view it as a benefit given to us by God for our spiritual growth in Christ, so that we may truly participate in the fellowship of His sufferings. To stand firm in the last days we must seek total transformation in Christ Jesus praising His name to be counted worthy to suffer for Him.
Copyright © 2012 Rev. Daniel W. Blair – All content (blog articles) have been published in my new book: “Revelation Truth” available in our bookstore or at a bookstore near you.