Prayer for the day
Let your loving-kindness be my comfort, as you have promised to your servant. Let your compassion come to me, that I may live, for your law is my delight.
Scripture for the day
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among Christians lately. Many Christians in the developed world are claiming to be persecuted for their faith. While I believe that some genuinely are, I also believe that many are misunderstanding the idea of persecution. Some believe they are suffering because of Christ, but in truth, they are either not suffering, or they are suffering for an entirely different reason.
Paul is very clear that his suffering and imprisonment are directly related to his proclamation of the mysterious gospel of Jesus Christ. He claims this in numerous places in his letters and gives clear examples of how and why this is happening.
Paul’s suffering is true suffering. He is beaten and imprisoned. Paul is hurt, he is in pain, and he truly suffers, but he does so because he is preaching the good news of Jesus. The message is offensive, and Paul knows it.
The suffering of the people of Israel is also because of God, but not because of how they are following God well. Rather, their suffering is connected to their disobedience and refusal to follow God in the way God has deemed fit. Should they follow appropriately, this kind of suffering will be eliminated.
Unlike both forms of suffering mentioned, there is a third kind, the kind many Christians claim is happening to them. This is the suffering that comes from being a jerk and then being treated poorly because of it.
We are called not to offend with our personalities, but with the gospel. We are called to suffer because of the gospel and only because of the gospel.
If we can get this straight, our suffering will not be in vain!