Preparing to Suffer

January 23, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind. (1 Peter 4:1)           

The apostle Peter, writing toward the end of his life, is pastorally giving the believers advice about the attitude that will serve them best. He points to Jesus, who chose to embrace suffering to ransom us and to do the will of God. Jesus was utterly committed to walking according to the will of God. He never sinned. He turned His back on temptation. He delighted in obeying the will of God. Likewise, our job is to follow Him and to prepare to follow Him no matter what.

To ready for that, we must arm ourselves with the idea that we will suffer.  Suffering will come because it came to Jesus. Our suffering serves a purpose: it shows that we are utterly committed to following God, no matter what, and we are willing to turn our backs to our old life of sin. 

Suffering may come as a shock to us. Therefore, we must agree to it ahead of time so that we won’t be taken by surprise or run away when it presents itself. Peter tells us that embracing the suffering that comes from following Jesus is part of the normal Christian life. God doesn’t enjoy our suffering.  It is not for His pleasure that we suffer! God forbid! We suffer because Christ and His way are often rejected in this fallen world. If they killed the Master, we must expect that difficult things will come to us. Do you remember when Jesus said to Peter, “When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” (John 21:18)?

All the apostles except John died as martyrs. Martyrdom is not the only suffering. We can be rejected by our families. We can be saddened and vexed by the godlessness around us.  We can suffer humiliation and rejection for the name of Christ. Because we are led by God, He may choose to lead us into difficult circumstances. Our lives are not our own and our destinies are woven into the purposes of God. God never wills us harm, but we may suffer because we are committed to doing the will of God. We should just see this as part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. No suffering will last forever. So let any suffering we endure be offered to the One who suffered the most entirely for our sakes. We can rejoice that our suffering is but for a season as we look toward His peaceable kingdom to come quickly. 

Maranatha.

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Team for FAI Emmaus Online School. Rose-Marie travels regularly to Northern Ireland and Israel. 

She can be reached at email rmslosek@comcast.net

The Suffering Servant Series

This series of four articles was written by Women of the Word Board Member Rose-Marie Slosek. They were originally published by FAI and are being re-posted here with permission.

In Isaiah 42:1-4 the Scriptures read,

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles,
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break, 
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth; 
and the coastlands shall wait for His law
.

Our culture, including “church” culture does not like to talk about suffering, never mind actually experience it. This is probably more true in the Western Church where “entitlement” is expected. Human nature finds suffering by and large repugnant. We don’t want any part of it. We want to avoid it at all costs. Many in the church have been falsely taught that because of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross believers will not have to suffer. This is not what Jesus taught. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was a man of sorrows. In this series Rose-Marie beautifully explores this aspect of Jesus as the Suffering Servant and how we might enter into His sufferings with Him. You may be reluctant to read further but there is a beauty here that is worthwhile to explore and to give ourselves to as the Lord leads us. May the LORD grant us His grace as we venture in. God bless you.

Part I: Our Call to the Broken

Bearing His Name, despite our own imperfections, is our great honor. Our many mistakes are rich fodder to learn the kind heart of God firstly toward ourselves so that we can share that honestly with others. If you are thinking that is too hard a task, know that He has already addressed that handily in this passage: “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth.” He is up for hard! He will not give up on you or His mission till the ends of the earth are brought under His just rule. Read more here>>

Part II: The Specter of Laboring in Vain

God determines where we will be dispatched and what we must speak, and this brings us to the point I wish to highlight most: we can suffer because we may believe, whether it is true or not, that we have labored in vain. Our best efforts may seem to fail. All may seem lost. Yet there is no anguish that we need to stifle in this process. We do not need to be heroic while being obedient. We are not the final judge of whether we have succeeded or failed. We stand or fall on our obedience, not on our success. Read more here>>

Part III: The Suffering Servant and the Sons of God

Jesus had to set His face like flint to accomplish the destiny God had for Him. Refusing to suffer would have cost Him the victory of His earthly race and His ability to inherit His people—not only to purchase our salvation but the right to lead us as the righteously Suffering Servant. If Jesus had to be determinedly all-in, should I expect an easier path? Read more here>>

Part IV: The Fruits and Victory of Redemptive Suffering

There is no merit in just plain suffering. In the Kingdom to come it is said that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Thankfully, the coming fullness of the kingdom of God has no suffering in it. We have, however, much that can be gained by our willingness to suffer as we minister to the pains of mankind, in general, and specifically Israel, in this age. Read more here>>

A Final Word

Take your time to prayerfully read and ponder this series. Mull it over before the Lord taking one article at a time. May the Lord lead you in His paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Maranatha!

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Teams for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net