For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. Philippians 1:29
The Apostle Paul wrote these words while in prison. Suffering is one of the least popular and least talked about subjects in the church today. We like privilege, just not suffering. We don’t expect to suffer. Yet, we follow a man acquainted with many sorrows. His fate was the cross. What makes us think that by following him our fate will be any different?
When we suffer we think that God has abandoned us, doesn’t care, or we are somehow outside of his will. What if the very center of his presence and will is found in our suffering? Could that be why Paul considered it a privilege to suffer for Christ?
No one goes looking for or enjoys suffering. But, if we follow Jesus it is going to take us to places of suffering. Jesus was lied about, misunderstood, threatened, laughed at, talked about, mocked, beaten, and ultimately murdered.
We like privilege, just not suffering. But, if we preach a gospel of privilege we preach a false gospel. What if, like Paul, we looked at suffering from a different perspective. When we suffer for his names sake we are identifying with Jesus and that’s a privilege.