Must Christians Suffer?

Once you start to live like Christ, a strange thing will happen (1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1; 1 Peter 4:12).  You might begin to suffer (Acts 14:22).  When this happens, it is God’s stamp of approval, showing that He is working with you (Rom. 8:17-18; Heb. 12:8).  Jesus Christ says anyone who will live as God lives will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12; John 15:20).

"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:10).  People may falsely say bad things about you, or persecute you because you are living your life for Christ by being zealous for good deeds (Matt. 5:11; Titus 2:14).  If you are glorifying God with your good works and allowing God to crush your old nature, He must surely test you (Matt. 5:16; Rom. 16:20; 12:21).  "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great" (Matt. 5:12).

You know full well, when you first start living a life that pleases God, the good deeds you force yourself to do will not come from your heart (Rom. 7:21; Luke 16:16).   You must go through the hypocritical stage of the Pharisees (Matt. 5:20).  Eventually, you will do the Will of God from your heart if you continue doing good daily and do not turn back (Eph. 6:6).  This is done by disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7).

You must force yourself to be a slave of righteousness for Jesus Christ by using the members of your body as slaves of righteousness (1 Cor. 9:27; Rom. 6:13, 18-19).  You force your way into the kingdom of God that is within you by renewing your mind and your heart with God’s Spirit (Luke 16:16; 17:21).

You enter the kingdom of God when you have totally rested from all your works of the flesh (Heb. 4:10).  This is the same as entering God’s spiritual rest.  You rest from the works of the flesh when you stop doing things your way and start doing them God’s Way, as an obedient servant.  You learn obedience to God when you suffer (Heb. 5:8).  That is how you are made perfect like Jesus Christ (Heb. 5:9; Matt. 5:48; Heb. 12:23).

All humans suffer during their lifetime (1 Peter 3:17; 5:9-10).  Disciples of Jesus Christ count it a joy because their suffering has a godly purpose when they live only to imitate God by keeping His Ways (1 Peter 4:1-2, 12-13, 16-19; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 3:8-11).