Google+ 07/09/13 Blessed are We That Struggle and Suffer in the Name of Jesus!

Philippians 1:29-30

 

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.

We are in this struggle together.

You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

 

Today's devotion deals with a topic that we often ignore, dismiss, or deny.  Our daily lives as Christians are a struggle.  Accepting Christ as our personal Savior is an absolute, Biblical necessity.  Without this decision, we simply cannot experience forgiveness or eternal life.  When this decision is made, the struggle begins!  Read what Paul has to say to the Philippians about suffering.  All of us seem to embrace the idea that we get to trust Christ in everything we do.  When turmoil takes over our lives, we take on the privilege of suffering for Him also.  Yes, Paul says the "privilege."  Paul's example is the one that I attempt to show people in our ministry.  Paul tells the Philippians that his struggle is an example of what he is sharing with them.  Paul also explains that he is right in the middle of that struggle as he is speaking to the church at Philippi.  I am quite sure that none of us are ready to hear Paul's message.  I know that the Philippians were not!  Nevertheless, this message of suffering and struggle is critical to our understanding of how the life of a Christian works.  I am amazed that many Christians explain that they simply "can't go on" because the path God is leading them through is too much of a struggle.  There is too much conflict.  Then comes the phrase that is never mentioned in the Bible which proclaims "I am stressed out!"   Here is the truth in love to all of us today.  Your life in Christ will be a struggle each day.  The more you do for God, the worse the suffering will be.  When you no longer allow people to hurt others in the name of God, your daily struggle is going to be quite taxing.  We must remember that following God and being bold in the Spirit means we are fighting Satan at every turn.  If you read that sentence a couple of times, the impact of your struggle and suffering will be revealed.  Let's look at the history of major Christian figures in the Bible.  Abraham had the joy of having his name changed.  God made him the Father of all Generations.  He was then called to sacrifice his only son that he had waited to conceive for over 90 years.  Noah was outcast by everyone, except his immediate family and God, for being obedient.  His suffering came first, long before the salvation that God provided for the eight precious souls that survived the flood onboard the ark.  Moses had to face his brother in conflict and eventually watch all the people he had grown up with die at the hands of God, except for those who were faithful and followed him to the promised land.  What happened when they arrived in the promised land?  All of God's chosen people struggled and suffered.  Paul, the writer of today's Scripture, had his name and life changed on the road to Damascus, only to find that most of the remainder of his life he would find himself in jail, persecuted for preaching the gospel message.  Finally, there was that sinless one named Jesus.  All He did was good for everyone, including His enemies.  The very people He helped the most, sent Him to the cross to pay the ultimate price in struggle and suffering.  As we enter into our daily prayer today, we need to examine our lives and evaluate them based on our Scripture.  If we find ourselves suffering and struggling, maybe we should rejoice!  Yes, I said rejoice.  Remember when Paul said that he had run the race and fought the fight?  Being a Christian is never comfortable or easy and we need to stop thinking that it is or will be.  As difficult as it is for us to accept, we must realize that suffering and struggling are a major part of being a Christian.  We are in great Biblical company when we suffer and struggle.  So today, I choose to say "Blessed are We that Suffer and Struggle in the Name of Jesus!"