If our Lord was simply an almighty King sitting on his sovereign throne commanding us as his subjects to serve and to suffer for his sake then that sort of call would certainly feel like a burdensome mandate that we were forced and obligated to carry out. That is why the apostle Paul takes time to point out the proper motivation for Christian suffering by providing the beautiful portrait of Christ’s own sacrifice for our salvation.
The fact that Paul could be at peace and stay content in the midst of everything that he had experienced was an amazing mindset, but it’s also one that’s available to every other follower of Jesus as well. And so, how can we get to a place in our own life where we can actually say with integrity that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”?
Paul’s life had been completely transformed by Jesus. His worldview and the trajectory of his life was completely changed by Jesus. And Paul understood that the only way to respond to what Jesus had done for him is to become like Jesus — to imitate Jesus.
Many of us have viewed religious persecution as something that takes place across the ocean and far away from our daily lives here in America. However, the targeting of Christians is beginning to pop up in our own backyard, and the rapid rate at which our culture is degenerating has increased the likelihood that most of us (and especially our children) will live and serve our Lord during a time of increasing hostility towards our faith.