Dear church,

This passage made me think about obedience and suffering. Jesus “learned obedience through what he suffered.”

Is all suffering an opportunity to learn obedience – which means that all suffering is good? This certainly can’t be the case. Suffering is the result of sin. Abuse of any kind should be snuffed out when we find it.

But there is a kind of suffering that God can use to mold us. When we suffer because of our faith – out of obedience to God’s commands – we can grow. It’s hard to obey God when we know we will suffer for it.

Christians in other places in the world have been going through this kind of “learning” for years. Being a Christian can put a person in jail, or worse.

I am thinking persecution of Christians will be coming to America. I think we’re getting hints today of what it might be like. Arguments could be made by the world that the meetings of Christians are dangerous and that they spread disease. The argument could be that religious meetings are a public menace.

And so to this and to other forms of pressure by our culture, Christians must be ready to obey God – to step out in faith in obedience to him. God wants us to be sensitive to our culture, but he doesn’t want us to blend in. We’re to be “salt.” Sometimes, salt can taste bad in a person’s mouth! We certainly know when we’ve encountered a lot of salt in our food.   

Christ suffered in obedience to his Father. He was nailed to a cross. The local authorities thought he was dangerous. Keeping an eye on our own future, even as we remember the sacrifice of Christ, can be instructive. We, too, can learn obedience through what we suffer for the sake of God.

Chris

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