Suffering is a normal part of the Christian life

Last updated on February 23, 2022


They helped the followers grow stronger in their faith and encouraged them to continue trusting God. They told them, ‘We must suffer many things on our way into God’s kingdom.’” (Acts 14:22, ERV)

The apostle Paul was traveling a lot. He went from one city to the next to spread the Gospel. In Acts 14, we read how Paul and Barnabas were preaching at Iconium “in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed” (Acts 14:1). Their work bore much fruit, but also met opposition. Finally, Paul and Barnabas had to flee the city since people tried to stone them.

In the next town, Lystra, Paul was actually stoned. The people drew him out of the town, assuming they had killed him. But Paul was not dead and he just went on preaching the Gospel in another place. Some time later he returned to Lystra and Iconium — the towns where people had tried to kill him — to strengthen the souls of the believers there. These people had hardly come to faith when they witnessed the hatred of their fellow citizens towards Paul. Being a Christian was hard and dangerous! Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to nevertheless continue in the faith, “saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

To these people, suffering for Christ’s sake was real. Paul said that their experiences are “normal” for Christians. Does this statement encourage you, or does it make you anxious?

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