Jesus once said anyone that wants to be His follower must devote his/her life to serve others. And in doing so one must be prepared to pay the necessary cost. Love is a sacrificial act of alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life of others. The cross denotes the suffering one must endure in the process of serving the dear loved ones. In this case Christianity is no longer a religion; it is a lifestyle that follows Jesus’ core principle of love.
It is true to say that prosperity and pleasure are part of our redemptive promise through Christ. Nevertheless, it is also true that persecution and pain are part of the same redemptive promise. Christ plainly indicated that pain and persecution are as inevitable as they are necessary. That is why Apostle Paul said everyone who wishes to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:10-12). All of the New Testament apostles were martyred save one. Suffering came to them because they lived for God and served others.
The writer of Hebrews said of early believers: “They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy.” (Heb. 11:37)
Public acclaim and pain avoidance are as dangerous as they are desired. One day Jesus was telling his disciples that He must suffer many terrible things including rejection by religious leaders, persecution and later be killed. But, Peter took Him aside and began to reprimand Him for saying such things. Peter, like many of us today, believed that persecution was not for the anointed, powerful and righteous people such as Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Jesus turned around and reprimanded him. “Get away from me, Satan!” he “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Anything that makes you devalue or avoid the compulsory pain in your life is, plainly, your greatest enemy. You must fight it with every available means.
The truth is that no matter how hard you name or claim; it doesn’t matter how many books you read, how many tapes you listen, and how many seminars you attend some situations will never change because they have been divinely set up to change us. God in His infinite wisdom and love has ordained us to go through some predicament. All we need to make is to accept them and graciously endure them.
It is true we were created to change certain things by applying some effort on the things that we make changes to, but it is also true that certain things were meant to change us first.
My humble experiences have taught me that the things that are meant to change us are notoriously stubborn. They refuse to change no matter how hard you try to change them. For me, the best thing to do in the circumstances is to try to be a better person by learning from them, as I do that my situations gradually ease and with time I eventually become strong enough to overcome them.
I think the best prayer all of us ought to say is this; God give me strength to change the things I was born to change. The courage to endure the things I must endure, and the wisdom to know the difference.