It is a mistake to think of suffering as just a “necessary evil.” It is not. The willingness to suffer is an awesome weapon— a powerful instrument of war before which Satan is bound.
Do you grasp that? Satan is bound by the weapon called your willingness to suffer!
Throughout His ministry on earth, numerous times Satan tempted Jesus to avoid suffering and the cross. But in the end, the victory was won, and Satan was eternally defeated. How? Hebrews 2:14 tells us—“[Jesus destroyed] him who holds the power of death” through His death on the cross.
Jesus did not overcome Satan when he:
- healed the leper
- raised the dead
- fed the 5,000
- walked on water
- preached the Sermon on the Mount
No! Little did Satan know, laughing as Jesus was dying on the cross, that the Son of God would destroy him through that very death—through His suffering!
Embracing of suffering is what we are called to imitate. Just like he did with Jesus, Satan tempts us to avoid suffering and the cross we are called to carry daily. Why? Because he knows that just as Christ defeated him through His suffering, we, too, defeat him and his forces when we are willing to follow in the footsteps of Christ and embrace suffering.
We must see the precious gift that suffering for the Gospel is. Remember that the times the Church was the strongest and most flourishing were the times it experienced great persecution. Even Paul confessed that the suffering he faced “really served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
When we have this kind of attitude, nothing becomes impossible.
Suffering As a Witness
We had four brothers who were caught and beaten and their Bibles and books burned. As they were being dragged out of the village to be burned alive, a schoolteacher saw them and ran to the police station to report what was happening. Before these brothers were torched, they were rescued by the police.
After the incident, these brothers wanted to go straight back to the place where they had just been beaten, desiring even more to see their persecutors come to Christ. They knew that they may be beaten again, and maybe even worse.
But that was nothing if only they could see these men understand the love that Christ has for them.
What can the devil do to these kinds of people? Anything is possible for those who have this kind of readiness to endure whatever is necessary for the sake of reaching the goal.
Dr. KP Yohannan, founder and director of Gospel for Asia, has written more than 200 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.
Gospel for Asia has been serving the “least of these” in Asia since its beginning in 1979, often in places where no one else is serving. Gospel for Asia supports national workers who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ by ministering to people’s needs so they can understand the love of God for them for the first time. Gospel for Asia is engaged in dozens of projects, such as caring for poor children, slum dwellers and widows and orphans; providing clean water by funding wells; supporting medical missions; and meeting the needs of those in leprosy colonies. Through Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Program, tens of thousands of children are being rescued from the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness.
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