For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1:29 NABRE
Paul writing to the community at Philippi encourages them to stay strong. Many of the citizens of Philippi are citizens of Rome and so Caesar is their god. Therefore the community of Christians face opposition likely on a daily basis. Paul is trying to buck up the community to stay strong and not be discouraged by the opposition. Paul uses the image that will become common for Christians that they suffer as Christ, with Christ and for Christ. Paul tells them he struggled as they are struggling. It is opposition to pagan power of the Roman Empire that is bringing them this struggle. Of course it is a struggle they share with the Messiah himself. “For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.” Paul and the scriptures about Jesus generally speaks often of the suffering that is inevitable of a follower of Jesus. Rejection and shame are side effects of the Christian mission. Yet suffering is endured with joy, giving Christians a way of bearing witness to Christ.
Certain teachers explain there is nothing we can learn from success after about the age of thirty, all success is similar and repetitive. But it’s through suffering and loss that we grow. As Christians we are on a journey of transformation. We are challenged to take our sin nature and perfect it to be more like Christ. Jesus tells us we must take up our cross and follow Him. In other words we will suffer and face loss but in these moments we meet God in a special way, a way that gives us strength and reminds us we follow a broken and crucified Lord. It is these struggles that transform us into Christ’s image.
Have you suffered? How do you respond to suffering?As Christians we are on a journey of transformation. We are challenged to take our sin nature and perfect it to be more like Christ. Jesus tells us we must take up our cross and follow Him. Click To Tweet
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