Philippians 1:29-30 NIV
29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from a prison cell. Paul in his life was well acquainted with suffering. Sometimes depending on what American preacher we are listening to we can begin to believe that suffering has no place in the life of the believer. We often hear much about blessing, but we hear little about suffering.
But suffering has a purpose in God’s kingdom. Those who desire to be used by God to advance the kingdom will face suffering. Whenever we make the decision to serve Jesus Christ, we now invade enemy territory. Satan is the god of this age who has blinded the minds and hearts of those who are lost (2 Cor 4:4). As followers of Jesus, we are anointed by God and marked by God, but Satan desires to use every device and strategy possible to hinder what God is accomplishing in and through us.
One of the great weapons of the enemy to hinder the work of God is suffering. But we must know that the grace of God is sufficient. His strength is perfect in our weakness. It is actually when we are weak, that we are at our strongest because it is here that we rely fully on Christ, and it is Jesus who will carry us.
But what we see from the apostle Paul’s words is that we have not only been granted to believe in Christ but also to suffer for Him. It is a privilege and honor to suffer for Jesus. That may sound crazy to some, but when we view things from an eternal perspective, we see that someday we will rule and reign with Christ in His kingdom. Someday we will be greatly reward for the ways we have suffered on this earth. Many of our brothers and sisters all over the world lay down their lives daily and too many times in America we may become fixed on the here and now, instead of having our eyes fixed on the Lord and His coming kingdom.
Regardless of the suffering we face, we must trust the Lord and abide in Him. We are not the first to suffer and we will not be the last to suffer. But I have learned the key to overcoming all things in Christ is abiding in Him. Regardless of the trial, storm, or challenge, if we abide in Christ, He will enable us to do what He has called us to do. Suffering in God’s kingdom is a high privilege and honor, and we must seek The Lord daily for kingdom perspective to see things as He desires to see them. To be led by The Holy Spirit and not by our fleshly sinful nature.
Father help me to see suffering as you see it. Give me the strength to endure and overcome. Help me to let go of the desire to be comfortable at all times but instead to step out of my comfort zone and continue to grow in my walk and relationship with you. Father help me to have eyes to see and ears to hear. Let me rely daily upon your grace for all things knowing that your grace is sufficient. Thank you today for all that I will face and that you are fully in control. In the name of Jesus, Amen!