Suffering is good (at least it can be)

Anything worth having is worth struggling for. Not the message most want to hear, and even fewer will embrace. Yet the good that comes from struggle is not just a motivation poster hung in the entryway of the local gym. The good from struggle, the good that emerges from suffering is a biblical principle that will propel your faith in ways you cannot imagine. Hardships should not be avoided but embraced.

In the New Testament letter of Philippians, Paul writes to the church identifying his on hardships along with their struggles because of their faith. In an age and a place that values religious freedom for all -- the right to believe or not believe -- it is hard to imagine suffering and imprisonment for ones' faith. Yet, that was common in the first century. Unfortunately, it is common in many places across the world today. In this letter, Paul writes, "For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him" (Philippians 1:29, NLT). In the way of faith, trusting in Christ and suffering for him is both a privilege. What good can come from the struggle?

Struggling without yielding means that what you are defending matters. Struggle and hardship have a way of stripping life down to what really matters. You endure your pain, your struggle, and hardship for what matters. For who matters. When you struggle and do not yield, it is a reminder of what and who really matter.

Struggle defines who you are. When you endure through a season of struggle whom you are at the beginning will not be the same person at the end. Embracing the struggle allows you to say, "This is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is what I believe."

Struggle defines what you want. The church that was suffering wanted their hardship to end. What they wanted more, though, was for others to come to faith in Jesus. Their struggle defined what they truly wanted. Yours will as well.

The church in Phillipi counted it a privilege to endure hardship for Jesus. By his grace, they were rescued. By his grace, they faced their struggle. Faith is embracing the privilege of trusting in Christ and suffering for him.