Suffering for Christ

“For to you it was granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…”

— Philippians 1:29

In this verse, Paul is saying that suffering for Christ is of grace—it is a gift given unto you, first of all to believe in Christ and secondly to suffer for His sake. I think of one writer who points out that belief brings life, and suffering brings muscles. It is a freely given weight-set given by God to you to develop your spiritual muscles as we suffer for Him.

May I ask you this, have you suffered for Christ’s sake? Now you know a lot of people think that suffering for Christ’s sake is having a headache, or having arthritis or something like that. That’s not suffering for Christ’s sake; everybody suffers that way, Christian, non-Christian, all alike.

Suffering for Christ is very different. Suffering for Christ is something that we endure because of our witness for Christ, and we are called upon to suffer for Him as well as to believe in Him. And we are to rejoice in that, as Jesus told us Himself in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be very glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:11-12a).

And we grow in faith when we are willing to suffer for Him. If we want to have spiritual muscles, then we need to realize and accept the gift, both of believing in Him and suffering for Him.

Dear Jesus, give me the strength to suffer gladly and patiently for You. Help me not take on a burden You have not asked me to carry. But when the time comes to suffer for Your name’s sake, give me the grace to endure…