For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3: 17

 

Almost no one likes to suffer, and most of us don’t enjoy seeing others doing it either. Yet, suffering seems to come with the territory of living on this earth. There is no magic potion or divine incantation that sets us free from it. Suffering comes to all of us at some time along this journey through life, and for most of us it surrounds us with a painful sort of frequency. Perhaps you shouldn’t explain this to someone who you are sharing Christ with, but suffering comes to followers of Christ with as much or with even more regularity than it does to those who do not believe in Him. Although we are in Christ, even as those of us who are highly committed to following His will, we will experience suffering.

 

In fact, followers of Christ have drawn a target on our backs, at least that is how it seems; for, in accepting Christ we are rejecting the way of this world. Those forces are powerful and infiltrate every corner of our planet with their winsome words, crafty deceits, oppressive control, and overt violence. By truly living in a manner that demonstrates the truth and the righteousness of the Gospel of Christ we are calling out Satan, all of his forces of darkness, and a culture that accepts his worldly shadow-truth as it own rendition of the gospel. This is a form of a declaration of war on the brokenness of this world; so, in Christ, we become engaged in the minute-by-minute combat that this conflict entails.

 

Yet, Christ calls us to fight a different sort of war than the one that the opposition wages. We are given an arsenal of tools to utilize that starts with love, grace, and sacrifice. Christ modeled these for us, and He grants the strength, courage, and wisdom needed to live with them at the forefront of our engagement with the world. Faith in Christ also grants us a form of hope that is lacking in the culture around us, for it is based upon the eternal nature and character of God. This hope grants to us the certainty of an unending existence with God, and it also gives us His perspective on living today so that we can dwell in this broken place with peace in our hearts and minds. We all do suffer; yet, in Christ, that suffering has a purpose as it takes our focus off of ourselves and places it on the Lord’s loving presence, and it points others toward the One who will do the same for them.

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