There is a well-known thought among Christians that we are called to suffer for the name of Christ. Most of the time, when we hear this concept, this is how it plays out: Some zealous saint, willing to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, encounters resistance of some sort. This faithful believer continues to do what God has called His children to do in making Christ known. He or she refuses to back down or slow up and, because of this willingness to suffer for Christ, they experience some form of hurt or loss for their loyalty to Him. Maybe it’s physical persecution. Perhaps it’s mockery or loss of property. Maybe they become betrayed by people with whom they were once aligned. No doubt, this is certainly an event that happens to many Christians who suffer for His name. You may think that, because you have not experienced anything dramatic like this, then you have never really suffered for the cause of Christ and the glory of His holy name.
But I want to suggest to you that you most certainly have. You see, all suffering in the Christian’s life is for His name. It may not be because of His name, but your suffering is intended for His name.
Most of us are aware that human nature is hard-wired to promote and exalt itself. We want strength and beauty and accomplishment and appreciation. Human nature, on its own, bows to itself in the mirror. Until Jesus Christ topples your tiny you-niverse, everything revolves around Self. Suffering is introduced to us by the gracious and merciful God who refuses to let us squander our years living for such a paltry purpose as our own name. We must be broken. We must experience failure. It is essential that we no longer rejoice when doing an inventory of all that we are and all that we have accomplished. God wants us to recognize something essential when we look at Self – He wants us to see NEED. Because God has fashioned us to bring glory and fame and honor and praise to Him, we all stand in need of being wrenched away from the nature within that always wants to steal the glory for us. For some of you, He ordains weakness of the body so that you will seek Him daily for strength to endure. Others of you are granted emotional fragility so that nothing else but Him will cause you to sense security. Despite the teaching of modern false-prophets, God ordains financial difficulty for many because their inner nature would never be able to resist losing their daily-bread-dependence upon their Provider. Loneliness invades the lives of some people who would otherwise make idols of people. Your pain, weakness, loss, denials, loneliness and deprivation are allowed to find you in order to accomplish one thing – to convince you that He is the sole reason why you are here. All the valid, lesser purposes for you being here stream forth from that one spring. Yes, we are here for the glory of Christ and, apart from some level of suffering….you would deny and flee Him every day on some level and seek to build back the kingdom of Self.
So, whatever ache will not leave your heart…tell your great and compassionate God…that you will endure this suffering because…it is all for the name of Christ.
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