I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Ever since dedicating her life to God, she had waited for him to bring her a husband. She made a list in her head of all the qualities she wanted him to have, and she prayed for him daily. One day, the perfect man seemed to appear. They shared many interests, and he possessed just about all of the characteristics she wanted in a husband. The one thing that was missing was that he did not share her faith. At first, she tried to ignore that detail, but time would show her that this was not negotiable. She said goodbye to what she thought was a great love because she took seriously the command to be equally yoked. Whether this would mean waiting longer for the right man or serving God alone, she could not betray the first love that is her Lord.
Suffering for Christ can look like many different things. For some, it will mean sacrificing what they consider to be valuable relationships in order to remain faithful to God. For others, physical persecution will result because of their confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Martyrs will remain faithful even to death. All of these things, each sacrifice regardless of size, glorifies God and serves as a testimony of the faithfulness of his people as it manifests by his mercy and power. It is too easy to wonder why these things must happen to us and to envy those whose lives seem to go much smoother. If we weigh them out for value, we will see that God’s glory is more than worth any suffering we could endure for it. The things which we endure for the sake of God will magnify him to the world.
We all have endured something for the sake of Christ. We will have long roads of difficulty as we learn obedience, and other people will see our struggle to remain faithful. As we rely on the power of God and emerge victorious through those times, we are showing others that we serve one who can make all things possible. The phrase “by the grace of God” probably should be uttered more often when we are asked how we are able to accomplish certain things. It is by his grace that He allows us the privilege of suffering for his sake so that we might bring him glory. That is quite a coveted position to hold, that we would magnify the great I Am. Father, make us people who embrace suffering for your name’s sake, and keep us faithful through the trial.