“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh,
arm yourselves with the same mind” -1Pet. 4:1
“But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” Luke 22:53b.
Jesus affirmed in plain terms that He alone is the light of the world (John12:4, 6); yet He Himself declared that an “hour” exists in our life and faith-walk when darkness reigns. He, anticipating His own suffering, had, for umpteen times, warned those who believed in Him: “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtakes you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going” John 12:35. The verse that follows says that Jesus departed and was hidden from them. Thenceforth, Jesus the light of the world was hid from them –hidden in the approaching darkness of the cross.
While we are not supposed to inflict suffering on ourselves, believers must anticipate suffering in this world (1Thess. 3:3-5). It is the way of this world order to make living right difficult (2Tim. 3:12). It is expected that evil men and women will not tolerate the inherent tendency of our lifestyle of faith and goodness to challenge the order of this world. Even Satan will hinder our sincere pursuit of noble things in life (1Thess. 2:18).
The Evil One will try hard to twist our pursuit of full spiritual stature, professional excellence, spirit-controlled fellowship, and a healthy family life. If we do not arm our hearts with the fact that our Lord faced and lived through hardship, we will think something strange is happening to us. The devil will deceive us by putting our focus on the difficulties. We will become bitter and rage at God. We will grieve the Holy Spirit. We will step out of the Divine circle of fellowship. We will then begin mustering our efforts on finding solution. We lose power. And if not for the grace of God, we will find a way out through the flesh. If we do not have this understanding of how the Devil plays his tricks, it means we walk in darkness and are out of touch with the light of God (1John1:6).
PARTICIPATE IN SUFFERING
“Take your share of hardship and suffering which you were called to endure as a first-class soldier of Christ” 2Tim.2:3.
Like an eclipse at noon, darkness came upon the Light of the world. But He walked through it and came out at the other end, in the brightness of resurrection. Unlike the disciples, “darkness did not overtake Jesus” or “catch Him unawares”. He had prophesied and anticipated it. Hence, He was prepared to participate in it.
The Spirit of God says, “it was an act worthy and fitting to the divine nature, that He (Jesus), for whose sake and by whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation acquire the human experience necessary (for Him) to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest through suffering” (Heb.2:10). God, having succeeded in glorifying Himself in spite of suffering in the life of Jesus, consider it fitting to apply the same protocol to us. Jesus’ experience of suffering earned Him the right to demand the same from us. He expects that we who believe in Him will take advantage of the grace of God at our disposal to stabilise in the hour of suffering.