I Don’t Want To Suffer
Read Philippians Chapter 3
Phil 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Only a few Christians pray that prayer in sincerity. Look at what it says. Do we really want to share in His sufferings? Do we really want to become like Him in death? Honestly, I’ve never prayed like that, and I’m not sure I want to. Let’s examine the idea. When we think of Christ’s sufferings, the first thing that comes to mind is usually physical suffering. It is not likely that any of us will ever have to suffer in a physical way. But there is another kind of suffering.
Think for a minute, about how much we suffer when we successfully resist SSA temptation, even once. It’s a victorious moment, but it takes something out of us. We suffer because we would truly rather give in to our desires. The enemy makes the temptation very appealing, very alluring. He does a great job in presenting a case for us to give in. It takes every ounce of the strength God has given us to resist and we are left exhausted once the moment passes. We suffer.
Now consider how much Jesus suffered. Reread the account of His temptation in the wilderness. There was enormous pressure on Him as He considered the offers of the devil. The allurement was to an extreme measure that perhaps we have never known. I am certain that our enemy brought before Him the ultimate amount of temptation every moment that Jesus was on earth. The enemy could have achieved his greatest victory if Christ had given in. It was in his best interest to “throw the book” at Jesus in hopes that He would not complete His mission on earth. No doubt, we haven’t suffered that much with our temptations.
Then there was the time in the Garden of Gethsemane. The agony He bore for our sins was so powerful that Christ shed sweat drops of blood. We’ve never, and we won’t ever, have to endure that kind of pain and suffering. Again, our gratitude should overflow. Many of the early Christians did suffer extremes that we have not been called upon to endure. Yet, in this passage, Paul asks for it. I just don’t think I can ask that. The reason? Because I don’t yet fully appreciate what He did for me. I would like to have that much appreciation and maybe someday I will. I’m closer than I was. What about you?
Ps 119:49 Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
Do we really believe that our suffering comes with a promise? The Psalmist said that we should receive comfort in our suffering because we are promised eternal life. That is an amazing truth! We do suffer for Christ, many times and in many ways. But instead of gladly bearing the suffering, we complain. We whine. We cry out for God to take away the pain. At the least, let us give consideration to enduring the pain willingly, and then progress to enduring gladly, from there to enduring happily. Maybe that’s the goal we should attempt to obtain, because the writer of Romans said this:
Ro 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. :5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Ouch!! I’m not even close. Shame on me!
Prayer: What a wimp I am! I gripe and complain over even the smallest sufferings. Forgive me, and all of us, when we refuse to suffer in Your behalf, and refuse to suffer because we belong to You.