2 Timothy 3:10-12 – 10But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance.
11Persecutions and suffering, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me!
12And indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
We see in this passage that Paul talked about his ministry as one of suffering and pain. Throughout his ministry he endured persecutions and sufferings as means to share the gospel. He lives an exemplary lifestyle for us Christians to recognize that indeed the life and the way of the cross are difficult unless we know what it means to die with Christ.
Paul’s teaching of suffering is something that we need to grapple with. For without suffering there can be no life in Christ. Are you trying to run away from your problems, only to see yourself in greater problems? A life hidden in Christ is not afraid of suffering for it demonstrates Jesus in our lives. If through our own suffering and people recognize Jesus in us, then we have not suffer in vain. Jesus must oust out of us or else we live our Christian life in vain.
Paul urged us to follow his teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love and persecution. It is only through such a lifestyle that we can see Jesus in us. The way of the cross is Jesus. Jesus suffered greatly while He was on earth and He said to us, “Follow me!” Are you prepared for the way of the cross? Paul knew what it meant to suffer for Jesus and if we want to be successful in our ministry, we must learn the way of suffering too.
Suffering brings us to the cross. It reminds us of Jesus and it allows God to wash and sanctify us. It is only through suffering that God can do a deeper work in our lives – through it we are transformed by the blood of Jesus. We face trials and difficulties in a totally different light from how we used to perceive it and we are able to identify the struggles that we go through and come out of it victorious.
There can be no way of the cross without suffering. The book of Peter talked about suffering and Peter said that Jesus too has suffered in the flesh and those who armed themselves with the same purpose has ceased from sin. 1 Pet 4:1. Peter admonished us not to live in the flesh any longer for the lusts of men, but only for the will of God. Verse 2.
Suffering is painful but it is the way of the cross. We need to carry our own cross and be willing to do so for Jesus. Great feat is accompanied by great suffering, and that was the life of Paul. If God has called you to do something great, know that He will prepare you for suffering as that is the only way to meet the cross. Jesus conquered the grave and made our spirit alive through the cross. 1 Pet 3:18. If you are willing to carry your cross and embrace it, know that you have already conquered suffering.
Are you suffering now? Hang on there with the cross and soon Jesus will embrace you. We yield to Jesus in times of persecution and we walk the way of the cross because this is the sanctification process that we need to go through. Be prune for the Master’s use and when you are ready for any battle, God will use you mightily to enforce victory in both your own lives and the lives of others as well.
Suffering is never easy but with God’s help and our willingness to embrace our cross, we’ll find it easier to bear the cross. The way of God is the cross. The way of suffering is the way of Jesus, and the way of life is to be willing to suffer for Jesus. Have you walked the way of the cross and are you carrying your cross right now?
Turn your eyes to Jesus and He will help you carry your cross.