Tag Archive for suffering for Christ

Our Reality in Christ

A prayer response to Revelation 2:8-11,
Christ’s letter to the church in Smyrna.

Father, when we are like Your Son Jesus,
the world will treat us as it treated Him.
We will suffer as He suffered –
false accusations, and

But Father, as You cared for Him,
now exalted to Your right hand,
You will care for us.
And just as we are sharing His sufferings,
we are sharing
His beautiful relationship with You and
His unending, unbounded life.

Though we suffer,
we need not fear suffering.
The worst our persecutors can do is to hasten
the inevitable death of this body and
our eternal reward.
They cannot touch our real life, which is
our life in You. (Matthew 10:26-31)

Though we may be poor in the passing goods of this world,
we are rich in Christ.
All things are His, and
all things are ours in Him. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

People may falsely accuse us.
Satan is the great accuser, and
his servants will do his work.
But Christ knows the truth, and
He is judge of all.
He has already declared us completely innocent. (Romans 8:31-39)

If He tarries in His coming,
this body will die.
But Christ is the One who died and rose again, and
His resurrection life is already pulsing through us.
Death cannot touch us.
We will rise in Him. (John 11:25-26)

In comfort or suffering,
need or plenty,
glory or shame,
life or death,
we are rich, secure, eternally alive, and abundantly blessed
in You, Father,
through Jesus Christ Your Son.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Captives of Eternal Love
Printed Music & Lyrics

When You Don’t Belong

You live far away from what feels like home,
far from those so dear to you.
You feel like
a foreigner,
an exile,
like you just don’t belong here.
Life has been unfair, and
the years continue to roll by with
your deepest longings frustrated.

You are in excellent company!
I have just described the life stories of
Joseph (coat-of-many-colors Joseph),
Daniel, and
Their lives were riddled with
alienation and

Yet because they lived in “a foreign land,”
God used them to introduce Himself
to many who otherwise would have never known Him.

Through their hardship,
God refined them.
He shaped them into
special servants,
uniquely His own.
Through their suffering, He showed the world just how
great and
good and
wonderful He is!

You are in the personal care of the
almighty God.
No matter what your situation,
He is right now working all things for
your good and
the good of countless others.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God Is Working All Around You
Printed Music & Lyrics

In Me You Have Peace

John 16:29-33

Jesus Christ speaks the truth completely and openly.
He is honest with us about
our weaknesses and
the trouble that life in this world will bring.
But He forcefully teaches us and constantly reminds us
that we should always be joyful because of
the blessings and resources that are ours in Him.

“In the world you have tribulation.”
Pressure will come.
The world will squeeze us.

“In Me you have peace.”
We have wholeness, harmony, and well-being
by trusting Christ need by need.

“Take courage. I have overcome the world.”
We will never encounter any trouble or opposition
that Christ hasn’t already overcome. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: We Are in Christ Jesus
Printed Music & Lyrics

Share in Christ

Consider the people nearest to Jesus during His life on earth:
His mother,
His father,
His disciples.
Those closest to Him shared His sufferings.
In their own degree, they bore what Jesus bore.
Their relationship with that one man cost them everything.

For them, the mysteries of the transcendent God weren’t abstract and far away.
They witnessed those mysteries close up.
They tasted them.
They journeyed through them.
They wrestled with them daily –
the light, the darkness,
the privilege, the pain,
the waiting, the questions, the wrenching self-sacrifice.

For each, it started with a personal call.
They sensed it was the call of the Living God,
and that decided their response,
though they couldn’t see the end from the beginning.
Mary answered the angel,
“I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38, NIV).
Joseph obeyed a dream and took a pregnant woman as his fiancé.
The disciples, average working men with deep local connections,
dropped everything familiar and
followed a homeless, itinerant teacher.

The price was real,
but the result was life rich beyond imagination,
permeated with truth and peace,
love and fruitfulness,
eternal meaning and undying glory.
That is still the price and the reward for all who share in Christ. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Partners in the Mystery
Printed Music & Lyrics

Living in God

Father, You are transcendent,
above all need and
all insufficiency.
Thus You are peace, and
trusting You brings us into Your peace.
As our grasping surrenders to You,
we are sufficient in You in every circumstance
as Christ was sufficient in You.

In You, we are without need.
We are fearless and free to love as You love,
selflessly and lavishly.
We are free for joy.
We are free for sacrifice.
We are free for fruitful living in You.
We are free to live as Christ lived,
from and
through and
unto You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: From You, Through You, To You
Printed Music & Lyrics

Live with the End in View

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26, NASB)

Moses had a choice. He could identify with his birth family, who were Hebrew slaves, or with his adoptive family, the royal house of Pharaoh, one of the most powerful families on earth. Identifying with Pharaoh would have meant privilege, respect, comfort, and wealth. Identifying with a slave race meant sharing their bitter oppression in all its forms.

Moses walked away from the royal family and instead embraced the difficulties, danger, and disgrace of being the leader of the Hebrew slaves. Why? Because he chose what was right and best in the long-term over short-term comfort. The reproach of Christ (Hebrews 11:26) held more appeal and satisfaction for him than all the pleasures and treasures of an Egyptian palace.

In Hebrews 13, the writer describes how Jesus chose to take our reproach, our curse upon Himself. He suffered outside the camp (v.11) as the disgraced and discarded corpse of a sin sacrifice. In v.13, the writer urges us:

So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (NASB)

That’s what Moses chose to do: willingly bear the suffering and reproach of Christ. Christ had accepted the reproach that rebellious sinners had heaped on God His Father (see Romans 15:13). We are urged to share that reproach, that reviling, ill-treatment, and disgrace.

When Moses made that choice, according to Hebrews 11:26, he was looking to the reward. Does that mean that actually, he was simply seeking what was best for himself in the long-run? In the gospels, Jesus often emphasizes our heavenly reward as the reason we should choose God over sin. Is our reason for obeying God to simply gain the best outcome for ourselves? Is Jesus endorsing shallow and selfish motives for doing the right thing?

No, Hebrews 11 gives a different perspective. It repeatedly praises those who make the right long-term decisions, in spite of short-term suffering. Such decisions prove their faith in God. Their actions demonstrate their conviction that God is who He says He is and will do all He says He will do. This is the faith that pleases God (vv.1-5).

That’s the faith that Moses lived.

Father, in Your loving plans for Your children,
suffering is always a means to a good end.
It is only a transition,
never a destination.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Captives of Eternal Love
Printed Music & Lyrics