For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
Here is an invitation to join the Christian faith. “Welcome, we have a packet for you in the back and it will outline the ways in which the Christian faith is different than other faiths. It welcomes you to a life of suffering. Are you ready to sign on the dotted line? Please take your free loaf of bread along with you as a special gift.”
Jesus has invited us to suffer are you ready? Are you excited?
Said nobody ever…
The natural proclivity of human beings is self-protection and self-preservation. Why would someone decide suffering is the way to peace, contentment, and joy?
This is why Christianity is supernatural. The God of the universe invades the wicked human heart, sets it aright and changes it for eternity. When a convicted criminal is given a pardon for his crimes he is naturally grateful. When the convert is saved his new affections give him the heart to serve the Lord; he is grateful and willingly pays the cost whatever that might be. Even to death.
Ouch… this is a tough pill to swallow for many, dare I say most, evangelical/cultural Christians. But even more, the word granted carries a deeper meaning than what we might think. It means to grant as a favor, in kindness, as an act of grace.
John Calvin said this about the suffering: “Oh, if this persuasion were effectually wrought in our minds — that persecutions are to be reckoned among God’s benefits, what progress would be made in the doctrine of piety!”
There you go… welcome to Christianity. Have a great ride. Hope to see you back real soon. But don’t delay. The consequences are eternal.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18