As followers of Jesus, He calls us to the Great Commission -spreading the Word to all nations of the world. We cannot accomplish this mission without suffering. We simply cannot disconnect the two.
The word suffering sends fear coursing through our veins. Who enjoys voluntarily suffering? Unfortunately, we sign up for suffering when we commit to following Christ.
Jesus loved the unloveable
Jesus is our model in everything we do. In Jesus’ day, inside the camp provided the safe place… safety in numbers. The people inside the camp seemingly had everything—warmth, food, safety. Outside the camp was very dangerous.
To the surprise of many, Jesus spent His time with people outside the camp. These were dirty and dangerous places to be. Jesus touched the untouchable. He loved the unlovable. He chose to spend His time outside the camp.
Can we impact people by living inside the camp with everything provided for people? By embracing the suffering of the people and still trusting in Jesus, we can reach a lost world. Jesus calls us to go outside the camp.
The Bitter Pill Of Suffering
Paul was very comfortable at the church of Antioch. He was in a safe place. Paul left the safety of the camp and went into the world to fulfill the Great Commission. Was Paul more effective in the safety of Antioch or because of his sufferings?
We cannot make disciples of all people apart from suffering. So why would God reward our obedience with suffering? It is a bitter pill to swallow. God uses suffering to glorify Him. In the midst of the suffering God receives the ultimate glory. Philippians 1:29 tells us “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him but also to SUFFER for Him.”
We, as Christians, endure and embrace suffering because we are living for a paradise to come. Jesus did not die to make our lives on Earth a paradise or comfortable. He died for our paradise to come.
Jesus defines success differently than we typically define success. Success is living outside the camp with Him. Don’t miss Jesus leaves the safety of the camp to reach the untouchable, unlovable sinners and for this, He suffered and ultimately they nailed Him to a cross cruelly for you and me.