And just like that I fall …
I’ve heard many times throughout my ministry that to follow Christ is to become a target for the enemy. I see it often as believers take their next steps in their walk with Christ. I’ve witnessed believers, in what some might call their most trying moments, just days and even moments before being submerged in water as they publicly proclaim their commitment to follow Christ.
Following Christ does not exempt us from persecution, temptation, trials, and suffering. The Apostle Paul knew well the persecution and suffering that came with following Christ but nontheless continually gave credit to the Lord for rescuing him from it all (2 Tim. 3:11). While we may not suffer to the extent of which Paul had, Paul warns that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (v. 12). How discouraging right, that to follow Christ we must suffer?!
Actually, I think it’s rather encouraging when viewed from the right angle. Jesus — the only one to ever walk this earth completely sinless — did not go to be with the Father without first suffering. In an act of selfless, sacrificial love, Jesus remained faithful and obedient to the Father’s will, merely for sake of the world — an undeserving sinful world.
Now that’s encouraging — that He thought you and I, selfish sinners, were worth the agonizing pain He bore as he was mocked, spat on, beaten, and crucified in order to reconcile humanity to the Father.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
So, when my trials seem relentless and unfair I admirably look to the cross where my pain and suffering so graciously hung and my victory from the enemy was won.
… and it is here at the foot of the cross that I find my strength to stand.