Does Jesus Want Me to Suffer?

March 19, 2009

“…if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:17

“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him with their lifestyle that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” – Unknown

“The only way we avoid suffering is when we set up boundaries, because if we are following our mission for Jesus we will run into suffering.” – Francis Chan

I have been struggling as of late with my actions as one who proclaims to follow Jesus and calls myself a Christian. I have been wrestling with what Paul says “provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” So how do I suffer with Jesus?

I heard Francis Chan preach on, avoid setting up boundaries. Avoid saying that I will only love this much, or give this much, or serve this much. Its following the example of Jesus dying to self and giving all for the Kingdom.

I am so thankful/proud of the fact that my church is not a church that preaches that Jesus = less suffering. Because that is simply not true, if you follow Jesus you will suffer for it. The Gospel of Jesus is not a message of Health, Wealth, and Happiness that is the American Gospel.

We as Christians, and myself in particular tend to lose sight of the Kingdom/Jesus mentality, we fall into this “I am saved, are you saved?” way of thinking. The focus is getting souls saved, ours and others, and we tend to forget about becoming more like Jesus and becoming consumed by Him.

you’ve got a vision of some far off day
beautiful and bright
a carrot hanging out of reach
but always in your sight
there’s an icon in your mind
that stands for happiness someday
a picture on the wall
of a kingdom far away

but oh, it’s closer than you think
oh, it’s breathing in between
oh, it’s closer than you think
oh, it’s right under your feet

– Fiction Family

My life is not reflecting suffering for Jesus and I repent of that. I have set up boundaries in my life where Jesus can’t go.

If life truly is as Annie Dillard puts it “the way we live our days is the way we live our lives” than I am failing. Jesus is not my focus every day. I want to be fixated on Him, to have every day of my life about Him.

My life needs to be consumed with excitement looking to that day I meet Jesus face to face. But in the meantime religion won’t do, morality won’t do, I need Jesus, I long for Him.

I sometimes feel Jesus singing this to my soul….

“Oh, and when will our heartbeats fall into two lines
And the click-clack of our boot heels beat out the same time
Oh, and when will your hand find itself in mine?
Oh, and when will your hand find itself in mine?”

– Noah and The Whale

I want Him to possess me in all I do. I am struggling and learning each day how to I become more like Him, totally wrapped up in the cause of His love, advancing it, recognizing it, and affirming it. I want to suffer, I invite suffering as I let down my boundaries and hope to die to myself.

Do you struggle with this?

How do you approach the way we should suffer for and with Jesus?

How are you living your days? Is that what you want your life to amount to?

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” – Romans 5:2-4