Persecution & Suffering: 11

Jesus speaks to His followers in Luke 9:23-25, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?’”

Part of the very definition of being a follower of Christ is that we do not follow our own desires and preferences. By choosing to follow Jesus, we are choosing (in this earthly life), to live in a way that is uncomfortable and difficult and sacrificial and selfless. This is how Jesus lived and how He asks us to live as well.

In Philippians 2:3-8 Paul exhorts us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: ‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!’”

Jesus then, is to be our model. One of the reasons we are left on earth after we choose to follow Christ is in order that we can be made more like Him. A major part of being conformed to His image is us learning to emulate Him in sacrificial service and humility. In suffering, if we do it willingly and with joy, we are made more like Him and are identified with Him.