for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."Acts 9:16(NASB)
Paul was God's chosen vessel to take the glorious gospel of salvation to the Gentiles. His ministry would not be an easy task, but one that would entail much hardship and suffering. Indeed, the catalogue of problems and persecutions that Paul endures in his ministry is almost without equal, for on numerous occasions he was imprisoned, beaten, whipped, and shipwrecked. He encountered dangers while travelling on land and sea. He was attacked by robbers, and ill-treated by both his own countrymen and by Gentiles. He encountered many dangers in the city, perils in the wilderness, and shipwrecks at sea, as well as many false accusations and unjust trials causing Paul many cold, hungry, and sleepless nights. No surprise that the Lord told Ananais: "I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."
Like Paul, we too are travelling through this world from grace to glory. Like him, we are passing through a Christ-rejecting fallen world that is becoming increasingly antagonistic towards Christians and the glorious message they proclaim. We are passing through a hostile environment and we have a spiritual enemy in the person of a Satan who comes as an angel of light, a slippery serpent, and a roaring lion to deceive the nations, while accusing and slandering the saints of God.
He travels to and fro on the earth seeking whom he may devour, but we are called to resist him and to stand firm in the faith, knowing that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing similar kinds of persecution and pain, as together, we journey through life from the Cross to the Crown.
Jesus Himself told us that in this world His followers would go through all sorts of tribulations, trials, sufferings, and persecutions, but we are not to fear what is coming on the earth, for He has overcome the world and given us His indwelling Spirit to lead and to guide. And He has provided us with His sufficient grace to overcome, in this evil day.
Peter also warns of the fiery trials that all believers will undergo on their Christian journey, but reminds us that our earthly afflictions will soon pass, producing in us an eternal weight of glory that will far surpass our expectation: "For after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
We are to cling to this great encouragement by grace through faith, as we travel through this hostile, antagonistic world from grace to glory, for our various trials are but for a season.
The Cross of Christ procured our salvation through faith, and whatever starts with God's grace results in God's glory. As we journey through life, we are to die to self and live for Christ. We are to depend on Him through all the difficulties and dangers of life, for although the sufferings and trials of this temporal world are but for a moment, His glory in us is secured for eternity. It is God Who started a good work in us and it is God Who will complete it in the day of Christ Jesus, for as Paul concluded: "I do not consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us."
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrected life working in me. I pray that You would give me the grace to participate in the fellowship of His suffering, knowing that in this world I will face trials and tribulations, dangers and maybe death, for His name’s sake. Thank You that the sufferings of this world are but for a moment, and that by Your grace You have promised to perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish me in Christ Jesus my Saviour. To Him be all praise and glory, AMEN.
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