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Growing up I always felt I was on a different path.  I was drawn to that person who was different, the outcast.  The boy in the wheelchair.  The child whose parent had died.  The girl who stank.

You see, I had these long, skinny arms and legs and was painfully shy. Grade school was a little bumpy. But it made me more compassionate and I found myself wanting to be a friend to the kids no one else wanted to be friends with.

I didn’t know God yet, but He knew me. And He was working something much more important into my life than being popular.  He was teaching me humility and sacrifice.

He was teaching me to do the right thing even when it isn’t easy.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:12-14a, 19

When we accepted Christ we entered into a different world. A world, seen and unseen, that is hostile toward us.  A world that hates Christ and anyone who follows Him.

For too long we can cling to our worldly idea of how we want our lives to be.  How we think they should be.  We want to be liked. Successful. Free of pain. Maybe drive a nice car.  Live in a comfy house.  We think that if we do the religious do’s and not the religious don’ts we’ll be rewarded with a life free of discomfort. Then when something jumps out at us from the forest we’re surprised.

Nope, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Following Christ means we will live a life of sacrifice and suffering.  If we’re not suffering for our faith maybe we’re not fully following Jesus.

He didn’t stay on His comfy throne. He came down to us.  He went out and met with those who were suffering.  He walked long days and prayed long nights.  He touched those no one else would touch.  He healed on the Sabbath when He knew He’d be reviled for it.  He spoke the truth when He knew He’d be crucified for it.

When we walk with the Lord, we can expect suffering. A faith that’s lived rightly is a faith that will be opposed. Embrace a life of sacrifice. It’s a faith that does the right thing even when it’s hard. But there’s a rainbow coming.

If the world hated Christ, who are we to think it will love us?  It won’t. The world will mock us, persecute us, ridicule us, make us the outcast, and even more as the Day of the Lord draws nearer.  There may even be times when a brother or sister in Christ will oppose us.  God’s ways are radical and misunderstood.  And some are still living with that comfy ideal.

We have a chance every day to leave our comfy lives behind for something eternally better.  We can choose to serve no matter how inconvenient. We can choose to uncompromisingly live out our godly beliefs no matter how intolerant they may seem to the world. We can choose to speak the truth no matter who disagrees.

We can choose to live radically for Christ because He radically lived, and died, for us.

And when we suffer we can rejoice that we are on a shared mission with Christ.  We have a message to get out and a calling to fulfill, come hell or high water. And our hardships are serving us to prove our faith purer every day.

A day will come when all suffering is done.  We’ll celebrate as the glory of God is revealed and with Him we will rejoice as the victors!

Q4U: How are you able to continue living for Christ through suffering?

Grace and peace,