Does it pay to be a Christian? What kind of life should a person expect having identified with Jesus? When people consider the Christian suffering, they shudder; but the truth is that Christians suffer for two basic reasons. This article explains these two reasons why Christians suffer.
Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also John 15:20 (NKJV)
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution 2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does- James 1:22, 25 (NKJV, emphasis mine)
It really pays to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. But following God has a price attached to it, which when you really consider is very minute compared to the glory that awaits you. The blessings of being a Christian are enormous and they cover your life on earth and life after death, i.e., eternal life in heaven. However, the list of blessings will be for another time.
Let's consider why Christians suffer. The two basic reasons are: first, for being a Christian and secondly, for being disobedient to God and His words
A. Suffering as a Christian
Jesus made it clear that His followers will suffer persecution because He too suffered persecution John 15:20. And Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12, expanded it a little more by saying that all who desire to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. That means, any Christian who is not suffering persecution is not living godly!
Christian suffering means that you have truly identified with Jesus. The scriptures in 2 Timothy 2:12 (KJV) makes us to understand that if we suffer with Him we will reign with Him but if we deny Him, He will also deny us.
Why Persecution, you may ask? The world is in darkness and desires to remain so (Isaiah 60:2, 2 Timothy 4:3-4). Therefore any form of light is prohibited. They will fight anything or anybody that tries to say or show that they are wrong. The enemy has blinded them that they may not see the light and be saved John 12:40. So, he will fight anything or anybody that tries to remove the blindfold.
B. Suffering for disobedience
Many Christians suffer all manner of afflictions like sickness and disease, poverty, failure, depression and frustration, etc. This is not suffering as a Christian. This second basic reason is not God's plan for a Christian, follower of Christ. His plan is for you to enjoy the blessings of dwelling in Him and Him in you 1 John 4:13
The scriptures say in Romans 8:32 that if God did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things: good health, financial breakthrough and success, etc.? But Christians don't enjoy all these most of the time because of disobedience.
Now, the basic areas of disobedience are:
1. Disobedience to the commandment of love.
God demands that you love Him with all your being, your neighbor as yourself and the brethren as Christ loved you (Matthew 22:36-40, John 13:34). Obeying these three commandments of Jesus shields you from all attacks of the enemy. This is because, when you love, you abide in God and God abides in you 1 John 4:16
God dwells in you in His fullness: His power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour and glory Revelations 5:12. When you are full of God, no darkness is permitted. And even if they come in for one reason or the other, they can't stay long because they can't co-habit you with God. God manifests Himself in the life of the believing Christian who walks in love John 14:21.
Therefore, disobeying the commandment of love is opening the door for the enemy to afflict you with all manner of evils. In 1 Corinthians 11:20-34, Paul makes us to understand that when we don't walk in love towards God and man, we become weak ,sick and may die an untimely death.
On the other hand, Solomon loved the Lord and had a large heart for his people, and God gave him wise and understanding heart like no one else before and after him, riches and honour like no king all his days. And God promised to give him long life if he kept His commandments 1 Kings 3:3-14.
When you obey the three commandments of Jesus, you fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40)and you stand to enjoy all the blessings of God in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 and avoid the curses for disobedience as recorded in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, which includes sickness and diseases, poverty, anguish of soul and destruction, etc.
The second reason why Christians suffer under disobedience is ignorance. God says that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge Hosea 4:6. When you don't know what God says about a situation, the enemy will capitalize on your ignorance and afflict you.
There is need for you to voraciously study the word of God to know your inheritance in Christ and what to do to enjoy them. Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 15:16 that he ate God's words and they were to him a joy and the rejoicing of his heart. And King Solomon said in Proverbs 4:20-22 that the word of God when found gives healing and health to your flesh.
Now, take note that ignorance is not an excuse before God anymore because the times of ignorance He overlooked but now commands all men everywhere to repent Acts 17:30. You must take the responsibility of feeding on God's word. If you remain a child in the things of God you will remain in bondage under the ruling spirits of the universe Galatians 4:1, 3 (GNT)
3. Hearer only, not a doer
Another basic reason under disobedience why Christians suffer is that many are just hearers only and not doers. God does not reward hearers but doers James 1:22, 25. It is not enough to know what God says, you must apply them for you to enjoy the blessings they carry.
The word of God will not profit you until you mix it with faith (Hebrews 4:2) and faith simply means acting on God's word. Faith without action is dead James 2:14-26. For instance, if you have heard of tithing (Malachi 3:8-12) and you fail to tithe, the windows of heaven will remain closed against you and the devourer will be free to destroy the works of your hands.
In conclusion, God does not want Christians to suffer except for His name sake (suffering as a Christian), which is for a while. He has made provisions for us to enjoy our inheritance in Christ but it requires absolute obedience to Him and His word. The blessing of God makes one rich and He adds no sorrow with it Proverbs 10:22
Ngozi Nwoke is a teacher, counselor and author of "Peace Money Can't Buy" and "The Man Jesus" . She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy peace, God's love and christian living for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? Subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.co
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