Suffering? Death? What are we willing to endure? For what cause are we ready to suffer and die? Our family? Country? What about Christ?
Not one of us, in our right minds, are excited about suffering or dying. We read and quote Paul’s words:
There is no better time or way to suffer or die than any time while in service to God.Click To Tweet
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Print.
But, we do not fully comprehend the attitude or embrace it as our own. We may say we do and potentially even believe we do. The truth, however, is shown in our actions and the other words we speak.
So let’s consider our answers:
- For what or who are we willing to suffer?
- And, for who or what are we willing to die?
Family | Suffering? Death?
We stand for our families. We will fight to protect and serve them regardless if it means suffering or death.
The truth of this belief is born out in our daily lives.
- We work jobs we would rather not.
- If our family is involved, we do things you otherwise would never find us doing.
- Sometimes, we go without, so they don’t have to.
After all, it is our family, and because we love them, they are worth our suffering and even death.
Country | Suffering? Death?
Our attitudes regarding our country are self-evident.
- We enlist to defend, serve, and maintain the status and prosperity of our nation.
- When threatened by an enemy, domestic or foreign, we rally our defenses and attack.
- Perceiving an ideology which in our mind will weaken our nation’s standing, we attack fast and furious.
We love our country and are proud of it. We believe it to be worth suffering and dying to protect.
Many have, and we are thankful for their sacrifice. More will, and we applaud their willingness.
Christ | Suffering? Death?
I do not think anyone would argue that we are ready to suffer and even die for our family and country, but now it is time to talk about our Faith and our Christ?
For, whatever reason, we expect only peace out of our faithful relationship with Christ. We think all of our troubles should just vanish.
That is not Scriptural! The Word of God repeatedly tells of the suffering and dying of God’s people. It narrates the accounts of His servants being sent into harm’s way to face those who do not believe.
Christ warned his followers
Christ told his disciples they would become enemies to the world because of their relationship and obedience to Him:
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
John 15:18-21. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Print.
Believers should expect and be ready for suffering and even death.To obediently follow Christ is to suffer as Christ and potentially die as Christ.Click To Tweet
In “Seeking the Face of God” we read:
There He was, the Son of God in this world; yet He was tried, He was tempted, He was tested, He had to suffer the contradiction of sinners against Himself. His life was full of battle and conflict. And if that was true of Him, as He Himself pointed out in John 15, how much more likely is it to be true of His followers. Because we are Christians, the devil and all his forces will be particularly concerned to try us and to test us; to bring us down, if not into sin, at any rate into a condition of defeat and of unhappiness, filled with a sense of insecurity and a spirit of fear.
Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn, and Christopher Catherwood. Seeking the Face of God: Nine Reflections on the Psalms. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005. Print.
What is our resolve?
The question is, “are we ready and willing to face suffering and even death for the cause of Christ?”
He suffered and died for us. Are we prepared to do the same for Him?
Forget the quick answer on our lips.
Think about that flutter in your inner being. It’s fear. We are afraid of the cost. It’s a natural reaction. In defense of our family and country, there is fear, but there is also a strong resolve to overcome the fear and stand for them.
After all, the purpose of terrorism is to induce fear and cripple the enemy. Satan and the World, in its sinful state, are actively engaged in terrorist attacks against the followers of Christ. They want to paralyze us in fear.
Are we resolved to overcome the fear and stand for Christ, come what may?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6: 10-11. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Print.