Before Thanksgiving, I was talking about some very sobering things in my blogs—that hardships await us. Our world is in a sad state. The prediction of many Old Testament prophets and even Jesus Himself is happening before our very eyes (Mat 24, Books of Daniel and Revelation).
Many of us probably won’t suffer major persecution in our lifetime. Most likely, the worst we’ll get is a little rejection, ridicule, or the loss of some “friends.” But all of us will suffer tribulation and heartache in this fallen sinful world. (Jn 16:33)
Is there anything we can do to prepare for the hardships we know are headed our way? I think…
The best way to prepare for future difficulties boils down to 5 major areas…
1. Increase our knowledge and love for God and His Word.
2. Increase our passion for God’s agenda.
3. Know what role we play in God’s overall plan.
4. Stay connected to the body of Christ.
5. Pray for ourselves and other believers to remain faithful.
The stronger our conviction about God’s truth, the stronger we’ll be under trials, temptations, or persecutions. The greater our intimacy with God, the greater our willingness to endure suffering for His sake—just like Jesus did for us (Heb 12:2-4).
Hiding God’s Word in our hearts will help us do that.
Jesus sacrificed everything for us because of His love. We were worth dying for in His eyes. Could we not also learn to suffer for His sake?
Love—Agape love—is the motivator. How else can we explain why the Apostles and many others rejoiced in suffering for Christ’s Name?
So in order to prepare yourself, ask what would you need to know specifically in order to remain faithful to God and endure whatever comes your way. These are the truths I came up with to keep me faithful:
- A strong awareness that God is always with me (Heb 13:5).
- God loves me unconditionally; nothing can separate me from His love (Rom 8:35-39)
- God is good and everything He does is good (Ps 119:68)
- God is in control of all things, even this (Job 42:2)
- God is my refuge (Ps 25:20)
- God is faithful (2 Tim 2:13)
- God is my living hope (1 Pet 1:3)
- His grace will enable me to remain faithful and obey Him no matter what that looks like (1 Cor 10:13, 2 Cor 11:7-10, 2 Pet 1:3-4)
- I belong to Him; bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20)
- This suffering is not a punishment but has been allowed for a good and eternal purpose. (Heb 12:7-13)
- Jesus’s suffering for me far outweighs my suffering. I will use it to bring me closer to Jesus. (Heb 12:2-4, Phil 3:7-14)
- It is a privilege to suffer for Christ (Phil 1:29)
- Justice will be done in the end. (Pr 21:15, Ps 1)
- My enemy is strong but has been defeated. (Ps 18:17, Col 2:15)
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
- God is pleased with my desire to be faithful. (Heb 11:6)
- There is a lot at stake here—the eternal destiny of souls.
- God almighty is worthy of my allegiance. (Rev 4:11)
- Great rewards await the faithful. (Mat 25:21)
- HE IS WORTH IT!
I’m sure I could come up with more. What vital truth would you add to this list? We need to hide these truths in our hearts!
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. (PS 119:92)
I encourage you to seriously think about these sobering things and hide them in your heart so you will be prepared and not caught off guard.
The best way to prepare for future difficulties is to…
Increase your love and passion for God by getting His Word in our hearts.
Align your agenda with His; find out your role in His plan.
Stay connected to fellow believers. Talk with those that are close to you about this. Read or listen to the testimonies of faithful men and women.
Lastly pray for yourself and others to remain faithful to God.
I don’t like thinking about this anymore than you do, my friend, but we must—for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of God and His glory!