For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.
1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
For the sake of Christ, Paul speaks of two gifts for the believer.
Gifts? Yes – gifts, for that is what is implied when he states “it has been granted”.
Believers have been granted faith and suffering. But before my Calvinist brothers jump on this verse, as I used to, it is important to understand that “grant” may also be understood as allowing or consenting to the fulfillment of something requested.
With belief, this understanding seems to me a basic truth. I sought the Lords deliverance through faith and he provided the request. Asking for faith is not the same as have faith thrust upon a non-believer.
Regarding the suffering aspect, we sometimes consider suffering to be that which leads to or is completed by martyrdom, and well it should, for that may be the end result. But please do not limit suffering to that which leads only to death.
Suffering in a believers life entails many aspects, ranging from loss of friends to loss of employment, loss of loved ones, persecution, and various other trials that come upon a believer due to his allegiance to the Lord.
Suffering may be granted to the believer for many reasons in the will of God. The number one reason I can think of, and that many reading may default to is simply a maturing process for the believer. It has been said that the whisper of God in the face of suffering becomes very recognizable, and is such that the believer will be willing to hear and obey.
The Lord desires a believer to hear at all times, but we know our frailty and understand the need for the Lord to get our attention through various means. In our married life, my favorite and I have went through various suffering and come out of it with a deeper resolve to follow the Messiah, a thankful heart (for the Lord’s care in the midst of loss), and a confidence that future trials will include His mercies and grace. This is the process of growing, of not simply knowing some facts about God, but knowing God, and His mercies, His grace, the patience and perspective only He can provide.
If you are going through any suffering at this time, look to the Lord, especially the cross of our Master to find encouragement, comfort and strength to endure the trial. He is good.
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