For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.1 Peter 2:21(HCSB)
The spiritual life to which we are all called is not an easy path to tread and Christ Himself warned us that in this world we will have tribulation, while Paul reminds us that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Many believe that becoming a Christian will guarantee a life of simplicity and ease; affluence and comfort, but we are warned in many passages that those who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life will meet with persecution, and will be made to suffer because of their stand for Christ.
Indeed John not only tells us that we will suffer but informs us that as Christians we were called to suffer for righteousness sake. He explains that suffering is our mission in life, because Christ Who committed no sin and lived a perfect life, suffered on the cross for our sake. Just as the Lord Jesus suffered without complaint for doing good on our behalf and for the glory of God - we too are called to suffer for righteousness sake, which also glorifies our Father in heaven.
Christ gave us an example of how to live. He walked in spirit and truth; He depended completely on His heavenly Father; He was guided and instructed in all things by the Holy Spirit and He suffered on our account - leaving an example for us to follow. Although He remained fully God while here on earth, Christ lived His life as fully man.. to show you and me how God expects all men to live - not living for self, but doing only those things that we hear from HIM.
It was for love of the Church, which is His body that Christ suffered. He laid aside His glory to suffer and die so that we might believe and be saved - and it is Christ's character and conduct that we are to emulate for He committed no sin nor was any deceit found in His mouth.
The Lord Jesus was a wonderful example of a man who was perfect in thought and word; in action and attitude. He was patient in tribulation; devoted in prayer and full of grace and truth - and Jesus learned obedience by the things that He suffered. He did not complain but patiently endured by humbling Himself and becoming obedient - even to the point of death on a cross.
As believers we have been forgiven of our sins and have received a new life in Christ. Christ's death on the cross not only paid the price for our sins but also broke the power of sin in our lives. Our position in Christ is not a license to sin but a motivation to live godly in Christ Jesus, for in Him.. and by Him.. and through Him, we have all that is needful for life and godliness. And a godly life is only lived when we do only those things that we hear from Him - as recorded in the Word of God for our learning.
Let us seek to emulate our Lord Jesus in all things... by keeping our old sin nature nailed to the cross and appropriating all that we have in our new life in Christ, for we have been called for this purpose: to suffer for Christ's sake, Who left us an example that we should follow in His steps. This cannot be carried out in our own strength.. but it can be carried out in His sufficient strength - as we abide in Him and He in us so that the life we live becomes a reflection of Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ not only gave me the perfect example of how to live a godly life that is pleasing to You, but equipped me by making me a new creation in Christ; by breaking the power of sin in my life by and giving me His resurrected life within. Thank You that I have been called for a purpose - help me to be willing to suffer for Christ, Who loved me so much that He went to the cross on my behalf. Help me to humble myself and become obedient to You in all things - even in the things that I am called upon to suffer. This I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.