Suffering? Don't Be Surprised!
Suffering? Don't be surprised!
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit." -1 Peter 3:18
I hope you have not been deceived. I hope no one has told you that following Christ will make your life easier. I hope no one has told you that a relationship with Jesus will make your life happier. I hope no one has told you that a relationship with Jesus will remove your suffering. I hope no one has told you that a relationship with Jesus will make you prosperous. I hope no one has told you that a relationship with Jesus is just a decision you make. I hope no one has told you that a relationship with Jesus will allow you to be the same.
I hope you have not been deceived.
Brothers and sisters, "do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12) If you follow Jesus, you will suffer. If you follow Jesus, people will pit themselves against you. If you follow Jesus, you might not prosper; in fact, you might lose everything you possess. Following Jesus is not a happy little choice you make and then everything goes better for you. Following Jesus isn't something that's easy. Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow him. (Luke 9:23) What he means is that we must die to ourselves and follow him. We are not our own anymore. We are his, and it is all about him.
Don't be discouraged, though! Following Jesus may be tough, but it is so worth it! Jesus has saved us from our sins; our only way to eternal life is through him. A relationship with him will foster a joy deep within you, no matter your emotion on the surface. Following Jesus will bring hope and life to a dying world! The Holy Spirit will take up residence inside you and give you strength and guidance. You may lose things, but you will realize that those things didn't truly matter in the first place. When you follow Jesus, you are connected to the heart of God. He has suffered the ultimate suffering so that we can look to a day when "there will be no more tears!" (Revelation 21:4)
I hope you have not been deceived; following Jesus is the best decision you can make. "Pick up your cross" and follow Him!
"Jesus, I know following you might be difficult, and it might not fix everything that's going on in my life, but I know that you are hope, joy, peace, and life. I want to know you more. I know that following you is the best thing I could ever do. So I pick up my cross today. I will no longer live for myself, but for you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and teach me to love you more every day. Amen."