By Matt Clark
Some of the most rewarding things in life are the hardest to achieve.
My wife and I just celebrated having our fourth child, James. As much as we love having him around, things have not gotten easier since we brought him home from the hospital. He needs a diaper change multiple times a day; he wakes up in the middle of the night needing to be fed; our other three children are still as demanding as they were before James was born.
However, as crazy as things have gotten, we could not love him anymore. Ask my wife and she will tell you the labor was worth it because James was the reward. Perspective is everything.
Some of the greatest rewards in life are only given after difficult journeys.
We need to remember this when it comes to our Christian walk. God never promised us that life would be easy. On the contrary, he assured us that when we live a life dedicated to His glory, we will face hardships.
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for him.”
Reread that verse.
Read it one more time.
Paul is telling the Christians in Philippi that they not only get the honor of believing in Christ but that they get the honor to suffer for Him. Does that sound strange to you? It did to me. The first time I read that verse I didn’t understand why Christians should consider it an honor to go through tough times. And then…my wife had our first child.
Every woman has a difficult journey during pregnancy but think of the reward. The result of the pregnancy makes all the pain worth it. Just ask a mother when they hold their newborn for the first time.
Now ask yourself what happens when you suffer for Christ.
Does it hurt? Yes.
Is it difficult? Absolutely.
We need to think past the temporary. Scripture assures us that when we suffer in the name of Christ, God is doing something in us. Something to grow us.
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10
John McArthur says that “while the believer is being personally attacked by the enemy, he is being personally perfected by the Lord.” God allows us to walk through these trials as a way to enhance our strength and character.
Remember, perspective is everything. When we respond to our situations in life, we are actually responding to God.
Are you allowing yourself to suffer for God? Many Christians aren’t seeing any persecution because they are not putting themselves in situations that require standing for their faith. When is the last time you told someone about what Jesus has done in your life? There are times when this information will cause people to ridicule you. It will cause people to look down on you. It will cause people to hate you.
When this happens, remember that you get the honor to suffer for Christ. Remember that God is perfecting you through those hard times. Remember that the devil wants you to see suffering as something negative. Don’t let the devil control your perspective. Don’t let the devil affect your response.
How will you respond to God?