Christian Suffering: A Privilege, A Blessing

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“This is my gospel for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.” (2 Tim.2:9)

Dearly beloved in Christ,

Suffering is a part of life. But if one suffers as a Christian it is a great privilege and a blessing.  A true Christian cannot escape persecution. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim.3:12) Paul had to suffer much for the gospel and for the name of Jesus.  Paul suffered not because he did not believe in God’s ability to deliver him from these troubles or not because he did not pray for it. He suffered knowing that it was the perfect will of God for him to suffer.  God had revealed it when He said “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts. 9:16)

Paul had a “thorn in his flesh” and three times he prayed to God that it may be removed but God’s answer was His grace is sufficient in the midst of his sufferings. We see Paul boasting about his sufferings for the gospel of Christ. (Cor. 11: 23-28) He was even willing to be beheaded for the gospel of Christ.

But in the midst of all the sufferings the good news is that the Word of God is not chained.  Paul says, though “I am chained like a criminal; God’s word is not chained.” Though Paul was in a prison cell bound with chains for the sake of the gospel, he still could write letters. Even if the proclaimers of the gospel are persecuted or killed, no power on earth will be able to stop the advancement of the gospel. There are still faithful men and women all across the globe, though some of them are bound to bed due to various sicknesses or thrown in prisons; yet through them the Word of God is spreading.  How powerful the Word of God is!

The Holy Spirit is also at work so that even the enemies of the Word cannot keep it from influencing human hearts. People may attack the gospel and its preachers or ridicule them, yet the Word of God stands for ever. “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89)

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isa 55:10-11)

Brothers and Sisters, we cannot escape persecution if we stand for Jesus and His word.  But that should not be a reason to compromise on our faith. We are not living this life to receive  recognition of this world, but are looking forward to receive commendation from our Master, “Good and faithful servants.” Remember the warning of our Lord “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matt.6:1)  Do not work for the recognition of this world and thus forfeit the great reward in heaven.

Jesus said “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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.” (Matt.5:10-12)

If you are persecuted for the sake of Christ and His gospel, remember that you are not alone. God allows you to go through persecution so that you can expect great reward in heaven. Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray for those who persecute you, because God is using them so that you may receive great reward in heaven. They do so for your good. Therefore rejoice and be glad.

Yours in Christ Jesus

Pastor Jacob

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