Why Suffering for Christ Is a Privilege


“It’s a pri-vi-lege. It really is,” my daughter drawls when our male standard poodle swishes his derrière in front of you to be scratched. Those who’ve met Max know she’s right. It is an honor to be picked to pet his long back.

Did you know the Bible calls suffering for Christ a privilege?

When I joined Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) out of college one questionnaire asked if I was familiar with spiritual warfare. I wasn’t. But I am now.

Every time I write a book or prepare to speak at a conference or retreat I experience battles on many fronts. I find myself wondering if it’s worth it. I’ve joked that if I have to live my message I think I’ll write and speak on gardens in Europe.

That’s why this verse in Philippians stopped me.

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” (Phil. 1:29 NIV).

“Granted—to suffer”? “Granted” makes suffering sound like a gift. Certainly, faith is a gift, but suffering?

The New Living Translation says it like this:

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”

While I’ve never suffered like those in the persecuted church, the Bible says that just wanting to please God brings battles. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12 NIV). So I find it helpful to reframe how I look at the hardships that inevitably touch the lives of those who want to live godly.

Why suffering for Christ is a privilege.

  • Our suffering for Christ can’t compare with what He suffered for us. “And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8 NLB). Christ’s anguish sliced much deeper than the physical agony of crucifixion. Jesus became sin. He took the hell we deserved so we could share His heaven.
  • Suffering for Christ—without grumbling—purifies us to shine for Him. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Phil. 2:14-15 NIV).
  • Suffering for Christ allows me to experience Him more deeply. “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10 NASB, emphasis added). On four occasions I’ve had the privilege of worshiping with members of the persecuted church. Let me just say it was deeply moving. These brothers and sisters knew they could die for their faith at any time. Their worship was deep, rich, and real.
  • Suffering for Christ now allows me to share His glory later. “But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (Romans 8:17-18 NLT).

Is it worth it to follow Christ when serving Him brings suffering? Yes, suffering for Christ is always a privilege. Why? Because He’s worthy.

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” Phil. 1:29 NLT #suffering, #devotional Share on X

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You might enjoy Even If by Mercy Me.

Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

Sometimes I link up with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #Coffee for Your Heart, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #Grace and Truth,

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  1. Melissa Henderson

    Amen. Beautiful message reminding us of how much He loves us. He suffered for us beyond anything we can imagine. He loves us and we are truly blessed to be His.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melissa, He demonstrated the greatest love. Thanks for reminding us!

  2. Horace Williams Jr

    Excellent points combined Biblical truths, Debbie. Well said, indeed. The book I am currently writing is about suffering. I was glad to see this article in your email. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. May God continue to bless you and yours as you serve Him. Be well, friend.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Horace, I know you work will encourage many. May the Lord anoint you and sustain you through this project.

  3. Ann Musico

    Oh Debbie – AMEN! He is most definitely worth it.

    • Debbie Wilson

      He certainly is, Ann!

  4. Tammy L Kennington

    Beautiful message, Debbie, and a challenging one. May He fill us with holy strength to do His will! Your neighbor from Coffee for Your Heart, Tammy

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Tammy.

  5. Mari-Anna Stålnacke

    Yes. Too often we think Christians should not suffer but that’s not what Jesus promised to us. Thanks, Debbie, for sharing your thoughts on this. Blessings to you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Mari-Anna, thank you for reading and sharing.

  6. Aimee Imbeau

    Thanks for sharing your post on Grace & Truth, Debbie. Recently, my oldest went through some ‘suffering’ – it was a very painful situation for her. But, together, we plucked out several truths and promises. She started to see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. And, the interesting thing is this: a few months ago, she said that she was afraid that she was losing her faith (I know she wasn’t – it really was that nothing hard was happening) and we talked about how this situation is strengthening her faith.

    • Debbie Wilson

      That is precious, Aimee. The Psalmist wrote, in Ps. 119, that its was good that I was affiliated that I might learn Thy statutes. I think suffering can make us so sensitive to Him and His word that we may feel dead when things are normal. Blessings to you both.

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