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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Philippians 1:29-30

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
Philippians 1:29-30

As a Christian, you have been given a great gift, to believe and to suffer for Jesus' sake. And you might say, "Thank you Lord, but can I have the first part of the gift and return the second?" The gift of salvation sounds great to us, but the suffering, not so much. Why would anyone want to suffer? Many times as believers, we view the suffering that we go through as a punishment from God. But Paul says it's not a punishment, it's a gift, because it's not suffering for suffering's sake, it's for Christ's sake and it has a purpose.

It's proof of your salvation and its privilege, it's for Christ's sake so that others might see Jesus in us. "You're going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have," Paul writes. They had seen and heard about Paul's suffering and they had also seen the fruit of it as well, the gospel being preached and lives being saved.

We can rejoice and be exceedingly glad because this suffering has benefits. We are able to identify with Christ, others have the opportunity to see Jesus in us, and eternal rewards will follow. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven."

When I look at suffering from God's perspective, it becomes more than something to endure. Instead I see it as a privilege and an opportunity to glorify the One who suffered for me.

Pastor Doug Hardin



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