Since becoming a pastor I’ve been convinced that one of my most important responsibilities it to preach and pray in a way that prepares people to suffer for the glory of God. Suffering – which is a wide and broad biblical category – is a stewardship given to Christians and the church which must be stewarded well. Seasons of suffering, no matter how dark and difficult, don’t free us from our responsibilities to God. Rather, a great part of Christian discipleship is learning how to suffer in obedience to him.
This is something that we need to prepare for. After all, no one is born knowing how to suffer. We don’t have an innate instinct for what to do when the heaviness of depression washes over the soul or we get the bad doctor’s report or a loved one suddenly dies. Add to our natural ignorance the tendencies of sin and crosses and losses become insanely difficult to carry. Suffering is something our minds and hearts need to be trained for before – if at all possible – it’s unexpectedly foisted upon our lives.
A Coming Persecution
I’ve thought about this in relation to the corporate church over the last several months. The new religion of Woke-ism, cancel culture, and heavy handed government restrictions have caused the word “persecution” to be thrown around in many Christian circles. While I have the suspicion that some of what is called “persecution” is really sensationalized drama, we cannot deny that our society is growing more hostile. To be fair, true and biblical Christianity hasn’t ever been very popular. But the cultural dinning room table isn’t giving Christians a lot of elbow room, and soon we may find ourselves banished from the table altogether.
Now, that’s not a bad thing. We don’t need culture to be a kind host to flourish as the church. After all, Jesus taught that true blessedness is a persecuted life: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). In a sense, kingdom possession is evidenced by kingdom persecution. Contrary to the Western spirit, blessing isn’t found in comfort and ease, in political majorities, or in holding popular opinions. It’s found in picking up the cross and following Christ. So, if the corporate church is facing what will be societal persecution – which is more than the edge of the sword – it’s all the better for us! That’s the way the wisdom of God works. Read more»
Kyle Borg, “Preparing For the Stewardship of Persecution” (May 7, 2021)
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