“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.” Philippians 1:29
We surely love the idea of believing in Christ, receiving eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. What’s not to love about that? Cleansing, both positionally and mentally is what we all long to experience. It’s hard to get one’s head around what forgiveness really looks like from God’s perspective, but from our viewpoint, we see ourselves with a clean slate and new beginnings. It is a privilege to have been invited by the Spirit of God to believe in Christ.
But wait, there’s more! It doesn’t stop with just the redemption solution for us. It’s now about wearing the same colors and designs on our jerseys to say we not only believe in Jesus, but are willing to be identified with Him publicly. When that happens, and you come up against someone who doesn’t honor Christ like you do, resistance is met at that very moment. They may not choose to say something to your face, but behind your back, you have become, “one of those people” to them. You are not wearing the same jersey as they are anymore, and that makes them feel uncomfortable. The loss of friendships is just one of the many pains which others may inflict upon you if you are truly committed to Christ. Business opportunities may be submarined quickly, when someone who is not a believer finds out you are a deeply devoted follower of Jesus.
However, those sufferings are extremely lightweight when you look at the cost for following Jesus brought to many in the first and second centuries. The possibility of losing one’s life, family and livelihood, including all your possessions loomed in the face of many of our faith fathers. Imagine having all your support both with family and friends ripped away from you because you chose to identify with Christ. Your world may not be as hostile to the gospel as it was for the Philippians, but in some locations today on our planet, many are being martyred for their “same colors” as Jesus stand. Paul wrote that it has been “granted” for us to pay a price for following Jesus. It’s a privilege to identify with Him and if necessary pay a price for that identification, too. As you step into your realm of doing business and life today, are you willing to boldly stand for Christ? This is more serious than supporting a sports team as a fan; it’s about living a life as a follower of Christ. Choose to identify with Him where you live and breathe.