Three Reasons to Rejoice in Suffering
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
In Philippians 1:27-30, Paul gave three reasons every Christian ought to rejoice when we suffer. First of all, suffering provides assurance of our salvation. In verse 28, Paul said it “is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” One way you know you are a child of God is if you are suffering for your faith.
Second, suffering ensures eternal rewards in heaven. Paul told the Philippian Christians to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents” (v. 28), because “to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake” (v. 29). In other words, it had been given to them as a gift to be able to suffer. You say, “How is suffering a gift?” Because if you suffer, you will reap eternal rewards for the temporary suffering you experience here. Did you know heaven is not going to be the same for every Christian? The Bible says there are degrees of heaven, just like there are degrees of hell. Heaven is not one big democracy where God treats all Christians alike. There are rewards in heaven–rewards worth working for. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” When you suffer for the gospel’s sake, you can know for sure one day God is going to reward you for that suffering.
Third, we can rejoice in suffering because it amplifies our witness. An amplifier takes a sound and makes it louder so that more people can hear it from a further distance away. Paul said in the same way, your suffering amplifies your witness for Christ. When you are going through suffering, your life message of glorifying God is heard more loudly, and it is heard by more people than when you are not suffering. These Romans thought they were inhibiting the progress of the gospel by imprisoning Paul. But Paul said, “No, I rejoice in my circumstance and in my suffering because it is amplifying my witness for Christ. And that is why I am alive: to glorify God.”
Do you desire that kind of courage in suffering? Do you desire that kind of feeling that says, “I really don’t care what happens to me, because I am resting in the sovereignty of God”? That kind of courage, that kind of rest, is only available to those who are willing to say, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Joy of Not Caring” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.