Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
In the classic board game Monopoly®, one of the most coveted cards to draw is the orange “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Every player eventually winds up in jail—you land on the policeman in the corner or you draw the “Go Directly to Jail” card. But if you have the “Get Out of Jail Free” card … no problem! You can go to jail and get out of jail in the same turn!
That’s fun because it’s a game. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes we end up in the jail of suffering, calamity, sickness, trouble, or pain—and there is no orange card to set us free. New Christians sometimes think following Jesus means no more troubles. Then they learn that Jesus suffered during all three years of His earthly ministry. And His disciples, later as apostles, suffered as well, even as they walked in God’s will. Here’s what we must remember: Suffering for Jesus is to suffer with Jesus. He promised to be with us until the end (Matthew 28:20), never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).
Following Jesus, whether through blessings or burdens, has the same result: being conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29).
There is a certain kind of maturity that can be attained only through the discipline of suffering.
D. A. Carson
Shortly after I became a Christian at age 12, I was thrown into the fire. I had a teacher who said things like, “People who believe in creation are idiots.” My best friend, whom I’d hung with for seven years suddenly didn’t want to be friends anymore. I often think of new Christians like newborn babies—they are fragile and need our help to get through the early years.
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