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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
September 17, 2005

     There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.
Philippians 1:29 (Message*)

We may be naturally inclined to think of suffering in totally negative terms. Some even seem to think that being a "good Christian" means we won't have to suffer.

This view is in stark contrast to what we read over and over in the Bible, and echoed by faithful Christians over the ages. Suffering is presented as part of the life of the Christian. It is even described, as it is in this passage, as a gift to us.

Some go the other extreme and make themselves suffer. I believe that's a misreading as well. Rather, what is being said is that suffering will naturally come upon us as we live faithful lives.

The mature Christian accepts as a gift whatever comes as he or she is faithful in following Christ. We are not to seek suffering, but we are to recognize that it is part of the journey, and can help us grow and mature in Christ.

Do I accept suffering as part of my walk with Christ? Am I able to see it as a gift?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2005 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 24-Sep-2005 16:38:50 EDT