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1 Peter 2:21: For To This You Have Been Called, Because Christ Also Suffered For You, Leaving You An Example, So That You Might Follow In His Steps.

1 Peter 2:21
[21] For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (ESV)

Let's be honest. None of us likes to suffer. If I have a mild headache, I carry on like I am on my death bed. I know that if there is a way for me to avoid suffering I am looking for that easy escape. I do not think that I am alone. None of us likes to suffer. The largest churches in the country are the ones telling people that if they have enough faith they will never suffer. Why are those churches full? Because we hate suffering!

The Apostle Peter is not going to let us off the hook. Instead of finding a way for us to avoid suffering he is telling us that we have been called by God to suffer. He appeals to the example of Jesus Christ himself, saying that because Christ suffered for us, we have an example to follow in suffering. This is bad news for those who want to be Christians and avoid suffering. It is great news, however, for those who suffer.

 Just because we do not like to suffer does not mean that we are not going to suffer. If we know that we are going to suffer and there is no avoiding it, wouldn't it be great if our suffering at least served a purpose? One of the greatest differences between the Christian and the Atheist has to do with purpose in our suffering. You will do well to recognize the difference.

Atheists and Christians alike will suffer. For the Atheist there is no purpose in the suffering. They see no purpose in anything in the universe. They are hopeless. For the believer, we know that suffering helps to build character in us. We know that God works all things for ultimate good (Romans 8:29) even though things do not feel good. We will eventually be rewarded in heaven for our faithful suffering.

The bad news is you are going to suffer. The good news is that you are going to suffer. We may not enjoy the suffering, but we trust our Lord that it has a purpose. Walk faithfully in Jesus' steps today. You were called to it.