Have you made any New Year's resolutions? Have you taken any steps towards accomplishing them?
The word suffering may cause you to think of physical pain or the denial of some food or pleasure. This kind of suffering is highly fashionable at this time of year. This month, the fitness clubs are filled with people who will, ‘feel the burn’ — a burning sensation in their muscles caused by intense exercise. Some will adopt restrictive diets. Others will participate in events similar to Dry January and abstain from alcohol and other drugs for an entire month. Those who participate in these activities will experience some degree of suffering. They will suffer because they want to accomplish their New Year's resolutions.
God's Resolution for You
The scripture above indicates that God prepared a 'resolution' for you before the Creation. This resolution was that you would follow Christ's example. God intended that this resolution be a constant experience of joy and pleasure. When Adam sinned, suffering was introduced to the human experience. This changed our circumstances, but God's plans for us did not change. God's desire for you to follow Christ stands firm, even in a world corrupted by sin (Romans 8:28-29).
But what kind of suffering does the Scripture call us to endure?
As we follow Jesus, we will find that His righteousness challenges our world's standards for what is good. Eventually, His righteousness will disrupt the standards set by culture, society, and tradition. His righteousness will also disrupt our perceptions of what is good. Following Christ's standards is worth it.
This year, let’s resolve to abandon the socially acceptable forms of righteousness, and pursue the righteousness that comes from faith in Jesus.
Call to Action
Let’s choose to walk with Jesus, in faith, relying on His righteousness, His merit, and His ability to perform as the only way we can be saved. We may suffer — we may lose social status, reputation, and relationships while walking with Jesus in the truth — but it will be worth it.
This month's Get Ready Magazine theme is Following Him.
Jesus is coming back again soon! Are you ready?
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Scripture quotations are from the Contemporary English Version Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.