“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.” – Philippians 1:29-30
The words “has been granted” show us that our suffering is a gift from God. Paul uses this same word in Romans 8:32, where he says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” The fact that suffering is a gift does not mean we should take some morbid pleasure in suffering, nor should we see it as a badge of holiness or piety. No, Christian suffering comes from persecution and attacks against the Faith. But if we should suffer for Christ, we should see it for what it is, namely, a privilege! For the apostles rejoiced, “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Paul also knew this kind of suffering, as he says in v.30. For the word translated “conflict” was used for the gladiatorial battles that would take place in the arena. Thus, the Philippians found themselves in this same “conflict” for Christ and His gospel!
We don’t know what may happen to us in the way of persecution. Our experiences may not be like those of our brethren in the first century. But regardless, we must remember Paul’s words that it has been “granted” to us to suffer for the sake of Christ! Yes, what comfort we have in knowing that our suffering is not by chance, but because we follow Christ as the Lord of our lives!
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for the church and pray for her witness! Do not grow weary in the fight for if we endure, we shall share in the crown of righteousness that does not fade away, which Christ, the Judge, shall freely give to those who love Him!
Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.