But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13
Can you compare your suffering to God’s suffering here on earth?
Jesus The Christ, God in the flesh, descended from heaven to become one of us. His purpose was to destroy the works of the devil- and He did it- for whosoever. Whosoever believes in Him. If we believe we receive, that’s how it goes. When we believe we walk in obedience. But remember Christ learned obedience through suffering too. So, where does that leave us?
Christ came, He suffered and died; He resurrected and conquered the grave. We talk a lot about Why God died for us, and some people are familiar with what it means to walk in a resurrected life: but we are never easily comforted by suffering. Yet here Peter tells us to rejoice, and count it a privilege to suffer as Christ did. I couldn’t believe it either, when I first read it. But it is a privilege to have a relationship with God because of His sons sacrifice, through fellowship with His Holy Spirit. This is the main reason why I love God.
Are you paying the price? There is a heavy cost to serving God.
To serve God means to deny yourself. Your emotions, your carnal nature and your time. God would rather you serve in the streets getting souls, than cleaning and cooking in the church and its members. But it is a high cost to be obedient to God’s command: go to all the world and make disciples.
It requires our time, our comfort and our energy to obey this command, and all of God’s commands really. This is not natural for us as human beings. If we truly perceive the suffering Jesus underwent: we would suck it up.
Jesus was God and with God before He came to earth, He came here to a poor country, not as a wealthy king with servants, gold and chariots. He had to learn the Jewish customs, to work, to be rejected and beaten. To be insulted, betrayed and abandoned. Jesus accepted all this, including being separated from God at the cross when He said Eli Eli why have you forsaken me!? That had never occurred in all of eternity. But because a holy God could not dwell in the body of He who carried the sins of the world, He humbled Hinself to the cross. So why do we resist when God calls us to enter our office of calling?
The prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists and apostles are always initially afraid of people’s reception of them and secondly afraid of failing. But the only way to be joyful, in Christ, is to be obedient. To be obedient which is learned through suffering.
Lord God, remind us of your purpose for our lives. Increase our faith, and love for you so that if it seems hard, or our mind and heart are not on the same page – may we push through the tribulation and change our perception on what suffering truly is. Help us to preach to souls, to prophecy, to teach and attend to our callings and to do so with genuine love. In Jesus name, Amen.