“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV
The path to Heaven is paved by Blood, persecution, and suffering.
The path to Heaven is paved by Blood, persecution, and suffering. The road to glory is not easily met, and few there be that find the strength and perseverance to endure. Only through Christ’s Blood are we saved. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit will we find the supernatural strength to continue on in the faith and endure our adversity.
To suffer for Christ is a suffering that should not discourage or drain us, but should perfect and purify us.
To suffer for Christ is the greatest suffering of all, for it is a temporal suffering. It is a suffering that should not discourage or drain us, but should perfect and purify us. It is in our suffering that we see the glory of God, experience the Grace of Christ, and are gifted with Holy Ghost peace. It is in suffering for Christ that we find purpose and meaning in this life.
Life without suffering is meaningless. It is simply an idling of life. A life without suffering is a life of pleasure that denies the difficulties of the day. Leisure inflames the mind of those who neglect to suffer, and their disposition becomes one of seeking health, wealth, success, and the good life. These things, ironically, do not last. They are continually being chased after. When a new material item is obtained, we immediately want more. One item of a good thing is never enough in this life. “The leech has two daughters: Give and Give” (Proverbs 30:15 ESV). The leeches of the flesh and self continual say, “give me, give me.” Give me success. Give me what I deserve. Give me my rights.
“I live in a culture that demands its rights. I live a faith that tells me to deny every one of them.” Paul Washer
Paul Washer famously said, “I live in a culture that demands its rights. I live a faith that tells me to deny every one of them.” The true born again believer recognizes that this life involves suffering. For suffering is equally attached with God’s blessing. We cannot get to the Promised Land without going through the desert, the fire, or the Flood. We will be battered and bruised on every side in this life. Yet, we shall not live a life that cries for its rights and plays the victim. For Jesus says ““If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me”” (Matthew 16:24 ESV).
When we deny ourselves of what we think we deserve and once knew, we enter into the revelatory knowledge of God Almighty.
To suffer for Christ means to deny ourselves. Deny everything we think we deserve. Deny everything we thought we knew. Only then, may we enter into the revelatory knowledge of God Almighty. For as Ravi Zacharias once said, “Christianity is the only worldview that explains origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.” These are the paramount questions that the soul of every man and woman desires to know. Only through Christ can these answers be known. Only through denying ourselves and acting on the Holy Spirit’s prior speaking and conviction will we be able to accept Christ and begin our walk with Him.
True conversion leads to change.
We must therefore not become afraid of suffering, but embrace it. For the true born again believer is entering into a century of persecution. Not only do we have men and women losing their heads overseas for their faith in Christ, but we are seeing persecution in America. Our persecution is, at the moment, different from that overseas. The persecution in America is clearly derived by the ungodly and wicked, but it is also coming from self-proclaimed Christians. Multitudes who believe themselves to be Christians have lacked any visible signs of sanctification. For true conversion leads to change. We have many “Christians” who have bought into the liberal mindset and have become intoxicated with setting their opinions above God’s Infallible, Immutable Word. Those who stand for the Word as it was written 2,000+ years ago, are becoming persecuted. They are being mocked and ridiculed. They are called "old fashion" and “bigoted” for simply believing what God’s Word says. This persecution shall only increase as the days continue to get darker.
Christ lived a life of suffering. He forsook the keys of the universe for a temporal time, in order to pave the way of salvation.
As born again believers, we must know that to stand strong in a calamitous time is to stand on Truth. We shall not be shaken by our trials and tribulations. We shall not die a death in vain, so long as we are standing for the Truth. Though multitudes would strive to smear our name, we will not waiver. We will see living for the One, True, Triune God as infinitely more profitable than maintaining a good name amongst wicked men. ““If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you”” (John 15:18 ESV). We must rest in knowing that our Perfect Savior was persecuted by the world. The self-righteous attempted to destroy His name. They desired to live according to what they believe they knew, yet, despising the Truth that was visibly in front of them; namely, in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ lived a life of suffering. He forsook the keys of the universe for a temporal time, in order to pave the way of salvation. At any time, He could have avoided persecution, but no. He chose to endure His suffering and affliction for the glory that was to come.
It is in suffering for Christ that we will obtain the blessings of Christ.
That is why as true born again believers we must persevere. We must suffer for the sake of Christ. For it is in suffering that we will obtain the blessing. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed” (1 Peter 3:14 ESV). Our suffering has meaning and purpose when it is for Christ. Though we may be cursed at, beaten, lose friends and loved ones, become sick, face financial difficulty, be mocked, or even possess a life of continual suffering up until the point of death, we do it with a smile on our face and the Truth in our heart.
Let us remember that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV). Let us remember that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 ESV).
““And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:20 ESV
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV). ““And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”” (Matthew 28:20 ESV).
Heavenly Father, You are the Triune God. You are the God of Life and Truth. Lord, we ask that You would breathe newness of life into us. Sanctify us with Truth, O Lord. Touch us with Your Divinity and conform us into the image of Your Son. Strengthen us with Grace to persevere through our suffering. Lord, we accept all suffering as being allowed by You for a Divine purpose. We trust in Your Sovereignty and Your Omniscience. Lord, You are the God Who transcends time and sees the good that can come out of suffering. We thank You that we are not the ones who know the reasoning behind all that happens. We give up this prayer to You, O Lord, as a fresh fragrance. We trust in You, O Holy One, to deliver us in Your time. We believe that our suffering has meaning and purpose when its God-appointed. Help us, Lord, never to suffer for reasonings of our backsliding, sin, and selfish ways. May we suffer for Christ simply for the genuine love we have for Him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.