Daily Devotion: The Christian Life is to Suffer

Philippians 1:29, 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.

As we teach our children the catechism and what it means to live as a Christian in the world, Paul’s saying here should be the first thing we teach our children. The first thing we should teach them about living as a Christian in the world is, “People are going to hate you because you believe in Jesus. Even your friends.”

This is a difficult lesson to teach, but it is even more difficult to learn when you are not warned about it, which was my predicament as a child. Thus, I was not prepared to face the hostility of the world against my faith, and my faith was lost. Only by the grace of God did I find my way back; rather, He brought me back like a sheep gone astray (cf. Luke 15:1-7).

That the telos (goal) of the Christian life is to live a comfortable life of prosperity is the lie of the prosperity gospel, no thanks to the idealism of American individualism and autonomy. The prosperity gospel is fundamentally unbiblical. There is no “live your best life now”; there is no “name it and claim it.” If you believe in Christ, you are guaranteed to suffer. Just as Christ suffered, so we will suffer.

As Christ said, “A servant is not greater than his master” (John 15:20). Christ bore the hatred of the Devil, the world, and sin; thus, we shall also bear the hatred of the Devil, the world, and sin. On this side of the eschaton, the Devil, the world, and sin will indefatigably press up against us, both friends and foe alike.

Do not fret, however. Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). Jesus is victorious over the Devil, the world, and sin, manifested in His resurrection. Since we suffer like Christ, so we shall be victorious like Christ in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5). Therefore, Paul also says, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

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