You ever notice that followers of Jesus rarely make it on the ‘A-list’ in the world’s social circles? We’re seen as peculiar, old-fashioned, out-of-step, and holders of scientifically unsound beliefs. We are often cast out of the mainstream.
That’s a good thing, because at the end of time, it is not us that will be cast out:
“The Son of Man will send out His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Mt. 13:42 – 43. NKJV
Until then, on this earth, the righteous will suffer:
“And you will be hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name, but it is the one who has patiently persevered and endured to the end who will be saved.” Mt. 10:22 AMP
It is because of our emulation of Christ (i.e. standing up for what is righteous) that we are made to suffer. And yet, these trials are part of God’s crucible, where He purifies His children, preparing us for eternity:
In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials and suffer temptations, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Pt. 1:6, 7. AMP
God is exhorting us, through the apostle Peter, saying that regardless of what life is throwing at us, we should respond in joy – knowing that God is building our faith in Christ. When we do that, we are bringing a positive increase to our heavenly account and are glorified for our endurance.
God never said that life would be easy. However, through Christ, He fills you with His boundless love and joy, and covers you on all sides with His mercy and protection – empowering you to transcend your trials, as you complete your journey. Indeed, God is pleased with your efforts:
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows, while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 1 Pt. 2:19, 20. ESV
Christ suffered for us; and we honor His sacrifice when we follow His example:
…because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth;” who, when He was reviled did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Pt. 2:21 – 24. NKJV
In our gratitude, we acknowledge what Christ submitted Himself to, so that we can be healed from our sin. He made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down His life so that we could be righteous in the presence of God.
So, in doing our best to emulate Him, we too can face un-righteousness with resolve, yet doing so with a loving example, that will encourage others to follow our commitment:
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 1 Pt. 3:13 – 16. ESV
For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Pet. 3:17 NKJV
It’s not a matter of if you will face trials in this life, it’s only a matter of when. But God will bless you through it:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Pt. 4:12 – 14. ESV
Love no matter what. God glorifies you when you suffer for Him; and you are repaid with eternal love. During any trial, count on God, because He is with you:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares about you. 1 Pt. 5:6, 7. NKJV
Also, take comfort in knowing that your brothers and sisters in Christ are all fighting the good fight along with you:
Resist him (Satan), firm in your faith, know that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Pt. 5:9, 10. ESV
During our walk with Christ, we will all suffer – ultimately at the hands of those who serve Satan. The devil does not want anyone to land in the loving arms of God. We understand that our earthly sufferings are borne upon us from the futile puffs of breath pathetically blown by this angelic outcast, who does not want to suffer alone.
We love no matter what. We know that our Savior will separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats; and He will take us with him. Faith overcomes. Love always wins…
Goodnight and God bless.