I am not sure I have ever heard a sermon on our inheritance as believers which included suffering as part of our entitlement, yet the more I read the New Testament I see that suffering, trials and difficulties are integrally woven into our life of faith. I noticed in our first week as we read Acts 9 where the Lord said of Paul “He is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and sons of Israel for I will show him home much he must suffer for my names sake.”
Unlike me, Paul was not deterred by suffering and his suffering was huge compared to the small trials I have. But I have it all wrong. I visualized life similar to a see-saw that if difficulties were high, comfort and joy were low and if suffering is absent, joy is elevated. But thank God for His Spirit’s correction of my wrong thinking. 2 Corinthians 1:3-12 says the opposite is true. The more we are afflicted, the more Christ comforts us. The more we are burdened the less we depend on our own strength and fully set our hope completely on Jesus.
For the rest of this week’s study, read Philippians 1:18-30. Also read John 16:33, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:16-39, 2 Corinthians 4:8-18, Hebrews 12:1-13, James 1:2-12, 1 Peter 1:3-9, 5:6-10
Paul wrote “To live is Christ to die is gain.” How would you paraphrase/explain this to someone who did not understand what he was saying?
What was Paul’s passion in life?
What is the purpose (benefit) of suffering in a believer’s life? How should we respond to suffering?