For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he shares with them that even through his imprisonment and various situations of suffering there is joy. Paul knew that because of his situation the Gospel was being preached, and for that he was thankful.
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
I’m sure if we asked Paul, “If you could, would you change how things played out in your life?” He would respond, “No, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Paul was strong and steadfast. He knew his purpose and went to all ends to fulfill just that. To say he suffered for Christ’s sake would be an understatement. In comparison to myself, Paul is just wow. I don’t have many other words to describe him. Paul – a man who loved Jesus and loved to make Him known.
We believe in Christ and we claim to know and love Him, but do we truly suffer for His sake?
Think about it.
Most of us have loving families, nice houses, steady jobs and whatever else our hearts can desire. Where does the suffering fit in? And no, I’m not talking about the suffering we face when we don’t get what we want. Or the suffering we get ourselves into when we disobey God’s word. I’m talking about the suffering Paul faced; our suffering may not look the same, but to us it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. The suffering I mention is the suffering that occurs when we honestly, openly and publicly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ.
As we grow up in this world, most of us pursue comfort. We pursue the “good things.” Our parents want the best for us; they want better for us than they had. The problem occurs when we pursue comfort for ourselves far more than we pursue preaching the Gospel, no matter what the cost or the consequence. We don’t have to be beaten to suffer. We don’t have to be put in near death situations to suffer. We don’t even have to be imprisoned to suffer.
Some have suffered for His name’s sake after sharing the Gospel with people who really could care less. Some have suffered when they are treated unfairly in their work places because they are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. The point is – it’s not how you suffer, but it’s who you suffer for that matters.
Do you stand up for the Savior you proclaim to worship? Or is that only at church meetings? Do you seize each moment you have to tell others about the truth of the Gospel? Or do you let those moments pass by and say, “Next time.”?
Whatever our circumstances are, as true followers and disciples of Christ, we must suffer for His sake. And if we aren’t and we never have, maybe being comfortable is the most dangerous place to be.
We will suffer, but will it be for Christ’s sake?