Suffering for Christ

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By Melissa McLaughlin

Following Jesus

We’ve all been there.

There is a sting when we don’t fit in. Friends at school make plans for their party, but we don’t make the list. Co-workers overlook us during the lunch conversation. People give us that uncomfortable side-glance when we pray over meals. An unbeliever on social media torments us for our faith.

Why? One simple reason. We follow Jesus. More than that, we seek to live fervently for Jesus.

Lukewarm believers may slide through life unnoticed. But Jesus sees. (Revelation 3:16)

So, in the end, we must choose to follow people or Jesus.

There is no middle ground. Perhaps this is a good thing. Especially for Christians in the United States.

Cultural Shift

During my childhood years, most families I knew attended church and raised their children with biblical values. This included praying, telling the truth, honoring God, loving and forgiving others, seeking justice for people who were harmed, believing the Bible. And yes, even believing God’s Word about our identity, who made us, and how God defines marriage. God is the Creator. He sets the terms.

However, with culture opposing God’s Word in greater measure with each passing year, true believers no longer fit in.

People who follow Jesus in today’s culture are mocked, excluded, and persecuted. In some countries, this persecution is even unto death.

How do we handle animosity toward Christians? Toward us?

How do Christians face persecution?

Look to the Savior.

Remember how Jesus suffered to pay the sin debt we owed. Our Righteous King and Beautiful LORD endured mocking, spitting, betrayal, beating, lashing, and the brutality of the cross. The spotless Lamb of God was slain for our sins.

Look to those who have gone before.

My faith is strengthened by Christians who persevered or died serving Jesus with all their hearts. I think of Corrie Ten Boom, Jim and Elisabeth Elliott, and Helen Roseveare, to name a few. When I feel overwhelmed by my lot in life, I read through Hebrews 11. These giants of the faith held fast to God, though they did not live to see His promises fulfilled.

Look to Scripture.

Scripture teaches us that suffering is part of our journey with Christ. I don’t fully understand why, but somehow, when we suffer for our Savior our faith is proven true. More for us than for Him. We are refined as we stand for Christ.

Here are a few Scriptures on suffering for Christ.

  • 2 Timothy 3:12 – Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
  • 1 Peter 4:14 – If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
  • Matthew 5:11-12– Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  • Acts 5:41 – So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Suffering Hurts and Purifies

All suffering hurts. And all suffering can press us into Christ and grow us in His image. In God’s hands, our agony takes on redemptive purposes.

Illnesses, trials at work, grief, difficulties in the aging process. The list goes on. When we seek the Lord, He uses our afflictions to minister to others and shine His light in dark places.

Moreover, when our struggles are the direct result of living faithfully for Christ, there is a unique setting apart or purifying that occurs. With sudden clarity, we recognize we are not of this world. We are not home. We are looking for that heavenly city.

Finding Christ in Our Suffering

No matter the ordeals we face, with Christ as our anchor, we can experience peace and hope amid adversity. Jesus produces eternal good from earthly struggles.

Jesus never promised His followers a pain-free life. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Jesus told us in this world we will have tribulation, but take heart; He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Who would follow such a leader?

A desperate sinner like me who looks at Jesus and sees a marvelous Savior. The only One who traded His righteousness for my sin and brought me into His holy family.

The world or Jesus?

When suffering hits hard, how do you stay true to Jesus?

Hold on, believer! Jesus is worth it.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Jesus is Victor! A Message of Hope from Corrie Ten Boom by Melissa McLaughlin

Why Christians Need to Endure by Melissa McLaughlin

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant by Melissa McLaughlin

Additional Scriptures on Suffering for Christ:

75 Bible Verses about Suffering for Christ by Open Bible.info

14 thoughts on “Suffering for Christ”

  1. Thank you Melissa, today’s message came to me at a great time. God bless you for all that you do. You are greatly appreciated. 🙏🙏❤❤

    Reply
    • Thank you, Karen, for reading and offering a word of encouragement. How kind of you! Praise God for His faithfulness, meeting us right where we are and drawing us to Christ, right when we need it. God bless you and keep you!

      Reply
  2. Thank you for this wonderful message Melissa and what perfect timing with all that is happening around us. No matter how others treat us for our faith, we must stand as a beacon for Christ to help those around us.

    Reply
  3. Powerful message, Melissa. Your writing is so beautifully done while reminding us of truths to live by. Suffering is a part of this fallen world and suffering for the sake of Christ is inevitable. But Christ is with us and I’ve learned the only sure hope in the darkness is Jesus. I can’t remember who said it, but I’ve always remembered this, “Many Christians leave Jesus at church as soon as they drive out of the parking lot.” And that is so true. I pray to live with complete abandon to Jesus as His devoted disciple. Help us Lord!

    Reply
    • Oh Karen, I join you in this heartfelt prayer, to live with complete abandon as Jesus’ devoted disciple.
      Your words echo with truth. Suffering is part of this fallen world, but we are not alone. Jesus goes with us through the fire. Holy Spirit, stir up the flames of faith that we will remain strong to the end. Help us Lord! Bless you, Karen!

      Reply
  4. As a new believer I read the book of Acts and thought how it would be an honor to suffer for Jesus as Peter, John, James, Paul and Stephen did. Maybe not like James, beheading sounds awful. Yet I get annoyed by insults in person or online. I can only hope that the Holy Spirit will make me better prepared as days of persecution are on the horizon. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your personal story here, Tom. Your passion as a new believer is a powerful thing to remember. I pray for greater passion for Jesus, so I can withstand days of persecution for His name. I recently read an article about Christians in a heavily persecuted country. Christian leaders prepare new believers with persecution training as part of their discipleship program. God, raise us up to be stronger in Christ.

      Reply

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