Must We Suffer to Have Victory?

As I’m perusing the notes to the Introduction to BSF Acts, the circle stuck out at me, particularly the part about victory.

To have victory in this life we must suffer for Jesus.  And we must do this because Jesus did.

I’m not for sure I agree with this.  At all.

Jesus suffered, tis true.  But he suffered because of man.  Could Jesus have died without suffering?  Don’t people die today without suffering?

I would wager yes.

Lesson 3, Day 3 talks about this as well.  Here, the apostles rejoice because they have been flogged and “counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” Acts 5:41

Just because I’m worthy doesn’t necessarily mean I have to suffer.  But I am able to suffer just as Jesus did.

I don’t think persecution is the end result.  Or even opposition.

I’m not suffering right now (far from what the Apostles and Jesus did–I mean who amongst us has been flogged???) and I believe I’m doing Christian work–work set before me for the Lord to do.  So does my work have to end in persecution?

I do believe people come against me but not quite like Jesus.  Take this blog for example.  How  many people have nailed me to the wall with looks because of what I’m doing?  Also, with my column.  People love to tell me I’m wrong on certain things, which is fine.  But some people are mean and denigrating.

I’m baffled to be quite honest with you.  Baffled at what BSF is getting at.  Miffed if it’s what I think they are getting at (saying I have to be persecuted or I’m not fulfilling God’s work for me).

Unless it’s on this level.  Because then this would be true for everyone:  who amongst us doesn’t have someone who doesn’t approve of us or what we are doing?  At least in some small way or capacity?

I’d love to hear everyone else’s take on this.

9 thoughts on “Must We Suffer to Have Victory?

  1. I’ve been suffering by somethings I thought I’ve done them right in Christ, but other people disagreed and blamed me for. This has happened several times over last couple of months. I thought if I saved the trouble from the beginning by doing nothing then I don’t need to tolerant those BS.
    Thanks for your reminder that those sufferings could also be called persecution. Because we have to do so we won’t feel shame for being a Christian. And the persecution does not need to fulfill the definition of dictionary. Love, Katy in Taiwan.

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  2. When I read the notes I looked back to the passage referenced– John 12. A kernel of wheat yields no increase unless it is buried. Likewise, Christ could have taken the human form, lived a sinless life, died of natural causes and entered heaven by His own perfect righteousness. But, then no human could have been saved. And I might add, likewise, you could quietly go along studying your Bible alone and no one would criticize or “persecute” you. But instead you have chosen this path of sharing your faith (in the form of your thoughts about BSF questions). You have suffered for it. But because you are willing to lay down your life, others will grow. Does that make sense? I think when we avoid suffering for our faith, the Bible is saying we cheat others out of what we have to offer. Ex. When I risk sharing Christ with a unbelieving neighbor, I have to die to self & risk their rebuke. But those I share with may come to Christ & my risk was worthwhile.

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  3. I did not understand that circle either. Maybe the word opposition would have fit better – those who are opposed to prayer, God, or religion of any kind. I don’t know.

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  4. I agree with Carole.
    The way I understand it is as follows:

    Instead of asking “must we suffer to have the victory”, I understand it to say “WHEN we suffer for Jesus, we have the victory”.
    Because Jesus, who lives within us has overcome the world.
    As Carole said: we could quietly go along and never suffer persecution.
    But the minute we open our mouth and witness and take a bold stand for Jesus, we suffer persecution.
    Instead of the word “persecution” that is used in the BSF Notes circle, I think we could substitute “suffering”, “affliction”, “trials”, …
    What comes to mind right now is John 16:33: “in the world you WILL have persecution, …”, as well as a Chinese proverb: “a gem can not be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

    So, to me the circle makes perfect sense: we receive power from above, that enables us to witness, then follows persecution, and on top of the circle, the most important item: prayer. First: prayer to ask for God’s help, and afterwards either a prayer of thanks, or, as sometimes is the case, a prayer for forgivenness, because I think God opened the door, and I blew it.

    Anyways, those are my 2 cents, and I would like to hear from others.

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  5. I’m so glad to finally be done with Week One!!!

    I agree with all of your points. I think they were going for the alliteration of all “P’s” when writing in order that we remember: Prayer, Power, Persecution. Paul says that he when he wants to do good/right that evil is near ready to push back.

    Think of anything that you or a family member is trying to correct or improve upon or give up. What happens? You pray and initially do well…quit smoking…eat better…exercise more…be more kind…control your temper…give up a curse word…volunteer in the community or at church or a school…and what happens? You do well at first but then, people start nitpicking at you…eat the birthday cake, stay home and watch this with me rather than going for a walk with a friend, a long time friend calls to “dump” and curses and you end up using the word, too, you lose your temper with a child because your mother just called and fussed at YOU “wasting your time” on volunteer work, and on it goes. And that isn’t even the really “evil stuff” out there. That’s your family and friends who resent you getting closer to God and who feel challenged when you make changes in YOUR life. While that’s not the persecution that our brothers and sisters in Africa and Asia might be encountering and the physical danger Paul and many missionaries are going through…it is a challenge to withstand such subtle assaults. Sometimes it is easier to withstand an obvious attack than the subtle undermining and nitpicking if only because we SEE and FEEL the danger of the obvious attack. To be alert to the family members or old friends or neighbors or even church members who do those stealth attacks…that’s something that requires the daily moment by moment trusting of the Holy Spirit to give us discerning spirits and guts that scream, “Danger…put on your armor.” I saw a sign at a church on a main street here the other day that said something like…God gave you armor but you have to put it on!

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  6. I understand that, to some extent, if we don’t “suffer” we will not know or turn to God. After all, if we had an easy, rich, carefree life, with everything that we ever asked for, what would we need God for? Through trials and persecutions, we understand more of what Jesus had to endure to save us. My only question is, why do some people suffer tremendously in life, while others seem to not suffer at all? I have known some truly evil people who have everything–wealth, success, happiness, no worries at all. These people will stab you in the back in a heartbeat, and jeopardize your life for money. And I know some really good Christian people who are suffering so badly that it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel for them unless it comes after their death, to end that suffering.

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