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.
God’s gospel-purpose for us
We know that believing is a blessing. And has purpose.
But suffering? Really, Paul?
The apostle Paul was no stranger to suffering. And his Philippian audience knew it. Not only was Paul writing this letter while under house arrest in Rome, but earlier in their very town of Philippi—a wealthy Roman colony—he and Silas had been dragged into the marketplace, stripped, beaten, and locked in stocks (Acts 16:19-24).
So when he writes “you’ve been given the privilege” not only to believe, but to suffer, he knows what he’s talking about.
And he expected them to suffer with grace. For a reason. Us, too?
There is a way to live that shows God’s good news (i.e., gospel) really is good. Stand united; keep the faith; suffer with confidence. Then it will be clear that we’ve been delivered (Philippians 1:28).
Do we flinch when danger shows up? Do we get scared at the possibilities of all the things that can go wrong in a life—even “little” things like a stomach bug or a car breaking down or an overscheduled week?
Here are three ways to suffer with grace against enemies:
1. Don’t be a loner.
Stick with the team.
Can we live in agreement? Can we be so single-focused on the grace of Jesus that people will look at believers and think, “That’s amazing!”? Yes, we can!
We’re not designed to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps when troubles come, but rather we’re gifted with other believers with whom we lock arms (Philippians 1:27).
2. Don’t let enemies intimidate you.
Place your confidence in Christ.
We reflect glory to God when we’re not intimidated by our problems (Philippians 1:28). Not because we have all the solutions, but because the Lord has and will continue to give us the gifts of grace we need. He will rescue us. Not from troubles. But through troubles.
God was faithful to Paul in his conflicts. He’ll be faithful to us in ours.
3. Don’t despise suffering.
Consider it a blessing.
This one is hard. But when Paul said that sufferings had “been granted to you,” he used the Greek word charizomai, which literally means “to grant as a favor, gratuitously, in kindness” (Philippians 1:29).
Paul counted it a privilege to suffer for Christ (Philippians 3:8), not a curse to shrink back from. The value of knowing Christ is worth it all. We see that throughout Philippians.
So let’s ask the Lord—no, plead with the Lord—to give us more unity, courage, and gratitude so the world will look at us and say, “Wow, God!”
He’ll give us the grace we need to suffer well.
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Day 21 of . . .
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT Do Not Depart
REVISED HERE FOR THE ARCHIVES