Expected Suffering

“For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.”   1 Thessalonians 3:1-5
This passage alludes to an important principle: “it is a deception of the Devil that Christians should not expect to suffer.”  In actuality, suffering for the faith is a reliable result of living for the faith; the second usually brings the first. In our soft spiritual society in America, the Tempter tempts persecuted Christians to believe that persecution is abnormal and a sign of failure, when actually (and Biblically!) persecution is very normal and a sign of obedience. That was the point of Paul’s words here, namely to expect suffering and not be surprised by it. So a sense of honor, not horror, should be our attitude when we suffer for Christ. The majority church across the world  in places like Iran and China already knows this, and rejoices in it. The church in America doesn’t. Yet.
Worthy Father, help me to build a spiritual life that has within it a willingness to suffer, even before suffering becomes unavoidable. Strengthen me now for what will be coming then. Let me learn how to treasure the honor of suffering for my faith in even small ways now, like rejection in my workplace for my faith, so that I will be ready to suffer in larger ways later. May I, like  Paul, desire to join Jesus “in the fellowship of His sufferings.” In His Worthy Name, amen.
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JR - December 20th, 2023 at 12:47pm

Thank you for the encouraging words