Christians will have trouble in this world. Jesus guaranteed as much. And not only did He guarantee it, but He also endured it Himself. In fact, the reason we do go through trouble is that we are His. The world hated Him first, so we shouldn't be surprised when it hates us (John 15:18).
This gives us a way to honor God in our suffering: by enduring patiently. In our passage in Revelation, Christ commends the Ephesian church for just that:
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. (Revelation 2:3)
First, notice that Christ knows. This was the point we made in our last post, that Christ sees when we are faithful and that it is pleasing to Him. Praise God that He knows.
He knew that the Ephesians were enduring patiently, meaning they were going through whatever suffering they were going through with the right attitude. They weren't grumbling. They weren't caving into the temptations that come with suffering. They weren't cursing God, as Job's wife would've had him do (Job 2:9). No, they were enduring it, and they were enduring it patiently, waiting on the Lord.
They were also bearing up. They were carrying the load with strength, not weakness.
And they were doing this for the sake of Christ's name. They were doing it for Him and for His reputation. They were enduring their suffering to honor Him.
Finally, they had not grown weary. They were in the middle of a marathon, and their legs were not giving out. They could do this for miles and miles and longer.
Christ commends them for this. And what a wonderful thing to be remembered for throughout church history. Yes, Christ is going to also admonish them in the following verse, but He does not do so without acknowledging their perseverance.
The Ephesians' example encourages us to also endure patiently and bear up under our own suffering. We will face persecution. We will face tribulation and trials of various kinds (James 1:2-4). But by the strength of God, we can persevere for the sake of Christ's name. We can honor Him by staying strong in the midst of it all.
Now, how does one do that?
Rely on God's strength. We certainly can't do it on our own. By ourselves, we are like Peter, denying Christ at the first sign of any suffering. But filled with the Holy Spirit, we are strong.
Pray. Ask God for that strength. He gives strength to those who seek Him (Isaiah 40:29-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Stay in the Scriptures. Reading and hearing the word of God strengthens the believer (Psalm 119:28; Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Be involved in your local church. You will grow stronger together with God's people (Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 4:11-13).
There are other means that God provides to help you persevere, but even if you just focus on these four, by God's grace, you will endure patiently. You will bear up. You will not grow weary. All for the sake of Christ's name. Let's do it.