Hardships, trials, sorrows, obstacles, and life stressors often leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Unless we understand God’s purpose and direction for our spiritual growth entirely, we can easily slip into the pit of D’s–Discouragement and Depression. Our mental and emotional state of mind dramatically impacts our faith and trust in God. What is our view of God? Do we view God as the Great Punisher? Or do we possess the “Why Me?” mindset?
“I tell you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John, yet even the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:28 BSB). What? John the Baptist was beheaded! [To be continued.]
Discipleship always includes suffering. Only the Apostle John died a natural death. And the Apostle Paul, when imprisoned, wrote, “For to me, living means living for Christ and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires…” (Philippians 1:21-23 NLT)
Yes, dying does end our suffering. Still, most believers do not consider the desire to cease living. Although the rough times hit like a tsunami, our hope remains. No one likes to suffer! How do we make it through without giving up? Changing our perspective can only happen when we accept the purpose of suffering and believe the promise that Jesus is always involved in our suffering.
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] (John 16:33 Amplified Bible)
How do we know if our suffering is for Christ? Or because of the consequences of disobedience or mistreatment by another person? Pray and ask God. David’s prayer: “Test me, O LORD, and try me; examine my heart and mind.” Psalm 26:2
When prior experience, strategies, and help from family and friends do not alleviate or bring resolution, we suffer for Christ. Deliverance is only through God’s Divine Intervention and given when His purpose is fulfilled in our lives. The human effort of prayer and studying the Scriptures will provide us with the faith, strength, and courage required to journey through the harsh wilderness.
Although John the Baptist was imprisoned in a cold, dark dungeon and beheaded, He foretold the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. “It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” (John 1:27 NKJV). John was aware that serving and suffering for Jesus Christ is a privilege and honor.
Certainly, this should be a moment of truth for every believer that, in humility, we realize the privilege and honor to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. Philippians 1:29
Prayer: God, thank you for revealing to us through the Holy Spirit that we are highly favored and privileged to serve and suffer for your Son, Jesus. Please give us the strength to endure suffering as we prepare for Eternal life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2022 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers, and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries