Christians Should Expect To Suffer

            Here is something that you are not going to hear in your average mega-church, or from the mouths of a typical televangelist. Christianity today is marketed as a consumer product to a capitalist society.  As a result, many preachers exaggerate or misrepresent the popular “benefits” of Christianity while the “side effects” are only mentioned in one-sentence disclaimers. The promises they make are simple; you put in the time, you give a little money, and the result is that you will “feel better.” Your life will have less stress and everybody will like you.  But I’m here to tell you, as a Christian, that this vague gospel that is being peddled in the marketplace will leave you feeling “unfulfilled.” Besides, it is not what Jesus preached. He preached a gospel that will make people hate you and persecute. But a Christian is supposed to accept suffering humbly and without complaint.  The Apostle Peter wrote the following passage in the Bible:

            “When you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

            (I Peter 2:20-25)

            Christianity isn’t about having fun and being a model picture of contentment admired by everyone you know. Yes, Christianity will make you content (knowing that your soul is safe from eternal damnation can do that), but it will often make people like you less. It rarely makes you rich, and it hardly ever makes you popular.  If you are a true Christian, your life of reliance on God is a condemnation to everyone around you who has not yet repented of their sins and accepted God’s plan for salvation.  This makes a lot of people your potential enemy, and this often makes your life a lot more difficult. But it is worth it because you know your soul is safe, and because you have the opportunity to turn some of these enemies into blessed brothers and sisters in Christ through hard work, tears, and prayer. The reward of bringing another child of God home to knowledge of the savior is worth feeling their anger. God is saving millions of souls every year, and those He uses to do it are extremely privileged, regardless of what else might happen to them.

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