Free Gift Inside

Everyone likes the promise of a free gift. Who doesn’t love free samples at Costco, buy-one-get-one-free deals, or a 30-day free trial? We all know that salvation is a free gift of God, but did you know that salvation comes with another free gift inside? 

Listen to what Paul tells us in Philippians 1:29, “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Now, you may ask yourself, “Suffering, really? How can that be a gift? Who would want that kind of a gift?”

The word “granted” in Greek comes from the root word “grace.” That means it’s more than just a gift; it's a gracious gift. So what makes suffering a gift, and why should we be happy to receive it? If you have time, read Philippians 1:12-26 for the full explanation, but here’s the condensed version. 

First, Paul tells us that suffering is a gift because it causes us to be authentic witnesses of God’s grace. When we go through hard times, it causes us to cling to Jesus more seriously. It shows others how much we trust Jesus. When we experience God’s joy, peace, and comfort in the midst of suffering, it demonstrates the reality of His goodness in our lives. 

Second, Paul says that when we suffer the loss of our comfort and convenience for the sake of others, it brings glory to Christ. Sacrificing our time, resources, schedule, or preferences for others is the only way not to be selfish. Think of it this way: without suffering, we’d miss one of the best ways to bring Jesus glory and find meaning in life bigger than ourselves. 

Lastly, suffering is a gift because it proves we are genuinely saved. If this life is all we have, then suffering will literally rock our world. But for those of us who have the hope of eternal life in Christ, suffering can’t shake our confidence. In fact, it’s a reminder that this world is not our home, and success and comfort here is not our goal. 

So next time you find yourself in difficult circumstances or have the opportunity to sacrifice for someone else’s benefit, see it as a gracious gift from God. It proves you’re saved, makes you a good witness, benefits others, and brings glory to God!

Thank God for the gift of suffering!
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