If you spend any time paying attention to what is going on in the world, you will think that some of it, or maybe all of it, is strange and peculiar. You may start to wonder, “Why is this happening?” “Why are people doing the things they are doing?” “Why are people saying what they are saying?”
There are many things in life that come our way that we think are strange or downright stupid. Philippians 1:29 is a verse that has one of those strange thoughts if we only understand it from our human mind. The verse reads “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for his sake.” To our human mind, that is not an encouraging and welcoming verse when we think about following Christ. The Amplified version reads “for you have been given the privilege of suffering for him.”
Why would we think that suffering in life is a privilege? Why would that make any sense in any logical thought process? In order to understand the “privilege” and benefit of suffering, we have to understand the following truths about suffering.
First, we must understand that suffering makes us more like Christ. Paul says that we have this privilege of suffering for the sake of Christ. That means we are suffering and going through struggles many times to become more like Christ. When we become followers of Christ, that is the beginning of being like Him. And that WILL INCLUDE SUFFERING!
Second, we must see suffering through the eyes and heart of Christ. Only then do we see the privilege and benefit of what we are going through. Do not let your suffering and circumstances become bigger than the God of the universe. Never forget that there is NOTHING more powerful or bigger than our Savior. Ask the Lord, what do you want me to learn through this time of suffering?
Third, stand firm on the truth of God. Get in the word. Take it in. Speak God’s promises into your life. Never forget that you are not going through this suffering alone. Do not allow the enemy to infiltrate lies into your mind. Satan’s lies bind you up while God’s Word sets you free.
Finally, do not go through this time alone. Surround yourself with Godly friends. Get connected with a community of believers. Spend time praying and talking to your spouse about the suffering. Keep your communication line open with God. Cry out to Him. Journal what you are going through and what God is teaching you. Do not try to take on the suffering by yourself and with your own strength.
Let your suffering be a time of growth and victory, not a time of failure and confusion.