There’s no better way to start the week than by filling up with God’s Word. So each Monday morning join me here to take a brief, but reflective look into a passage of Scripture.

Make a quick mental list of the people in your life you feel the most connected to. Consider who you know the most thoroughly. Intimately and deeply.

My list – and probably yours – is made up of people with whom I’ve shared the difficult things of life. They’ve experienced my pain and I’ve walked with them through hurt and trial. Suffering forges a unique bond that ease never will. This is true with our friends and family. It’s also true in our relationship with Jesus.

Since Stephen – the first Christian martyr whose death is recorded in Acts 7 – Christians have been suffering, and even dying, for their faith. It’s happening around the world today. But do you expect it or welcome it in your own life?

But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I’ve lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-11, NIV

Scripture tells us that the world hated Jesus because His righteousness revealed its sin (John 7:7). Jesus said the world will hate us because it hated Him (John 15:18-21). Do you ever feel hatred from the world because of your likeness to Christ?

A number of years ago, God impressed me with the sad truth that my life did not draw much, if any, ridicule, scorn, or persecution from the world. The reason? I was not enough like Jesus to be any threat to the world and its ways.

What about you? Have you ever had to endure suffering because you bear the name of Christ?

If you have experienced suffering, how did it bring you to a deeper knowledge of Christ?

Titus Bible Study

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