But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:15-16
Paul was chosen by Christ to proclaim His Name to both the Jews and the Gentiles. He was called to speak about the Name of Jesus and to suffer for the Name of Jesus. This got me thinking, “If God were to show me today (as He did with Paul) how much I MUST suffer for His Name, would I still follow Him wholeheartedly and serve Him faithfully?” Well, Paul did! How did he do it? He had what I call a biblical theology of suffering. He perceived suffering as essential to following Jesus and so he embraced it. He did not expect to be treated better than his Lord and Saviour. Neither should we.
If we are serious about pleasing the Lord, we will experience opposition, suffering, and pain (2 Tim. 3:12). Suffering is not only part of living in a fallen world; it is also part of the journey of following Christ. Following Jesus doesn’t make us immune to suffering; as a matter of fact, suffering intensifies when we decide to become serious about following Him. “In this world you will have trouble,” He said to His disciples. (John 16:33)
Therefore, let’s embrace suffering for the Name of Christ. To embrace suffering for Christ, He must be more valuable to us than our very lives. His cross must be more important to us than our comfort, and His mission must be more urgent to us than any personal need or ambition. Only then will we be used greatly by God to serve His purposes in our generation, just like Paul was.
Have a blessed Tuesday!