Suffering of the Godly: It’s Not What You Think!

distressed woman with four hands pointing fingers at her on image. Words of Suffering of the godly: it's not what you think

Let me start by saying that the suffering of the godly: it's not what you think! does not include sickness, disease, poverty, lack, pain, depression, or mental torment.

Surely He has borne our griefs [sicknesses] And carried our sorrows [pains]; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions [individual sins], He was bruised for our iniquities [generational sin patterns]; The chastisement for our peace [all mental torment] was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

These are all things that Jesus paid the price for in our place so that you and I don’t have to suffer with them. If Jesus bore it, you don’t have to.

However, there are still two types of suffering that you will deal with as a believer:

1. Persecution

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

If you’re going to follow the Lord, you’re going to deal with persecution—people who don’t like you, oppose you, talk about you, and will even betray you. You can’t pray away persecution; you must learn how to process it and deal with it.

That includes your “sandpaper” person. You know who I’m talking about. You’re praying for God to get this person out of your life, but Jesus is interceding at the right hand of the Father that He could reveal Himself through you to this person. When Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, I believe He was telling us to live from the unwounded side. You’re not a victim. You’re a victor!

My wife and I pastored for twenty-seven years, and we noticed a pattern: two “victims,” who had never met before, would come to our church and, like magnets, would somehow find each other.

“Victims” are part of the wounded hearts club because they don’t want to be healed. You’re going to deal with difficult people like this. You don’t want to give up on them or stop praying for them, but you don’t have to become a doormat for them either. That’s part of the suffering that we deal with.

2. In the Flesh

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Suffering in the flesh is the willingness and discipline of our heart to follow the will of God when our flesh wants to do something else. We need to spend time with the Lord and find out what’s on His heart for today and then just do what He tells us to do.

Instead of trying to come up with some plan where you ask God to bless it, don’t do anything without the Lord’s initiative.

I don’t mean you do nothing. Rather, you should serve where you are and don’t make any major changes in your life and then ask God to bless it. Be someone who’s following the Lord.

Moses attempted to do God’s will his own way. He’d been up all night, listening to Frank Sinatra sing, “I did it my way.” Stephen said in Acts 7 that it came into Moses’ heart to deliver the children of Israel. But Moses tried to do it by killing one Egyptian at a time!

Then Moses had to go to the desert to get his BSD degree (back-side-of-the-desert degree). God re-visioned him at the burning bush and asked him what he had in his hands. And Moses said, “Well, I have a rod.” That rod represented his ministry, that he was going to part the Red Sea and do miracles. God asked him to throw it down and then pick it back up.

When Moses threw down the rod, it became a serpent, which is a type of the serpent nature that is in every one of our lives when we try to do God’s will our way. That’s the enemy; it’s selfish ambition. Where there’s selfish ambition, there’s confusion and every evil work (James 3).

Jesus provided the right example in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, “Father, if there’s any other way, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.” His flesh didn’t want to die. He didn’t want to be separated from the Father or take on sin. But He said, “I’m going to follow Your will.”

The suffering that Jesus went through was in the flesh, when His flesh didn’t want to do the will of God.

My wife and I pastored in Houston, Texas, for three and a half years and then we merged our church with another church. We waited a year and a half for our next pastoral assignment. Then God called us to Decatur, Texas. We moved from a city with a population of 4.5 million people to a town of 5,000. I thought God was sentencing me to anonymity. I was like, “God, are You serious? Nobody’s going to know me, and I’m meant to reach the world.” I died a thousand deaths when I said yes to the Lord, and my flesh suffered. But that was the place where I met my pastor, Bob Nichols, and also Andrew Wommack.

Has God ever asked you to do something and you’ve questioned Him, inquiring, “Why am I going here? Why am I serving here? Why are You leading me here?”

Just recognize that He is God, and you are not. He knows the steps that you need to take for Him to promote you. It’s going to require suffering in your flesh.

What is it that you value the most—an imperishable crown, or the temporary whims and pleasures of the flesh?

Click below to watch the full Charis Daily Live Bible Study teaching and learn how to endure the true suffering of the righteous.

Greg Mohr

Greg Mohr

Greg Mohr serves as ARMI’s Ministry Ambassador and as director of the Charis Bible College Third-Year Ministry School. Formerly the senior pastor at River of Life Church in Decatur, Texas, Greg is now a beloved Charis instructor, conference speaker, and author. He holds a degree from Rhema Bible Training Center and a master’s degree in leadership from Southwestern Christian University. Greg is married to his best friend, Janice, and they are blessed with four children and twelve grandchildren.

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