image: Single Sisters in University
End Times Special Edition
“Becoming More Like Jesus Through Trials & Sufferings”
Sisters, meet Jolie, a former SSU, currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant. If we call ourselves ‘Christians’, it literally means that we are followers of Christ, then why is it that the majority of Christians don’t want to endure persecutions and sufferings like Jesus did? Today’s chat looks at the way trials and sufferings make us more like Jesus.
How can you describe your overall journey with Christ?
It’s been an interesting journey I must tell you. When I became born-again, I wanted a change of life and experience God for myself; through the years, I have learnt so many things that I never expected, a times through the hardest ways ever. But overall, it’s been a rewarding journey, I’m grateful that Jesus saved me.
Acts 14:22 says “we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” How has your experience been?
I agree 100% with this verse because I went and still am going through tribulations. Personally, tribulations for me have come from my relatives who are hard-core witches and wizards. Literally, these relatives have tormented our family for ages; at first, when we were new in the faith, we didn’t have discernment and didn’t know their evil practices, consequently, they capitalized on our ignorance to consistently attack us both spiritually and physically. They have created divisions amongst us in the family, fought with us in dreams, or even come in spiritual forms in our houses. Sorry I don’t mean to scare anyone but this is just to give an idea of the kinds of tribulations my family and I are exposed to. The more we grew up in the faith, the more we learnt to stand firm in prayer and resist these relatives through spiritual warfare; it’s been a long journey and it hasn’t ended yet.
In your opinion, why has this battle lasted this long? And how have you changed during these trying times?
For two reasons I will say. First, if this battle had only lasted a week or two, my family and I wouldn’t have really taken spiritual warfare seriously, we wouldn’t have learnt much through the experience. The fact that it’s lasted all these years has taught us so many lessons such as dependence on the Holy Spirit, faith, perseverance, patience, submission to God, joy, and peace. These are values we wouldn’t have acquired if the journey was short. Some people at times say “oh let’s pray that God will stop the persecution.” I smile at these kinds of prayer requests because persecutions are actually healthy for a Christian in order to grow and become more like Jesus. If we live a tranquil life, how can we become spiritually mature? Even in schools, our professors put us through hard work so we can become the best. Second reason, I believe our Heavenly Father is being patient for my relatives’ sake as He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9). About the changes in my life, I echo the values highlighted earlier, patience, peace, perseverance, submission, etc.
Do you think you could have gotten to the level you’re at without these tribulations?Absolutely not! It’s as if someone says “I want to become fit”, yet doesn’t want to exercise. No matter how many times this person repeats it to himself, the fitness will not happen. The person needs to go through the workouts to achieve the desired results. The same goes with our walk with Christ; I could not have made progress in my faith without the tribulations. Tribulations are the avenue that takes me to my desired results of becoming more like Christ. Philippians 1:29 calls it a privilege to suffer for Christ, “for you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.”
Should every believer go through this path of trials and suffering in order to get to Heaven, or is this just reserved for some children of God?
Going back to Acts 14:22, Paul said that we must enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations. He didn’t say we ‘can’ or ‘may’ enter the kingdom of God. Tribulations are a must if we want to know Jesus intimately and enter the kingdom of God. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus said “not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven…And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me.” Those who said “Lord, Lord” were individuals who went to church, served in ministries, or performed miracles in Jesus’ name, yet, Jesus rejected them because they didn’t have a personal relationship with Him. How can that relationship be reinforced if not through trials and suffering? The Christians who avoid tribulations will not inherit the kingdom of God because they didn’t follow the path of Christ. So, tribulations are for all those who are serious about being like Christ.
Why doesn’t the majority of Christians see their life in Jesus the way you’ve just portrayed it? I mean for the mainstream Christian, being a child of God is to live comfortably and pray for God to fulfill their desires.
For some Christians, I will say it’s due to Hosea 4:6, they perish for lack of knowledge. They don’t spend time reading and studying the Bible for themselves and as a result, they accept whatever is taught to them in church. The Spirit will only reveal these hidden truths in the Bible to those who show interest. For other Christians, they purposely avoid trials and sufferings; they want to be comfortable and just enjoy themselves. And for this category, the Father will not also allow them to be transformed in His Son’s image. Consequently, they become blinded by the devil thinking that the Christian journey should be smooth, easy, full of enjoyment, and prosperity.
What advice do you have for SSU?
I will say to SSU: “Stop calling yourselves Christians if you don’t want to become more like Christ!” It’s the hard truth and they have to face it. So many ladies are out there dishonoring the Christian name because they are avoiding trials and sufferings and thus, they live shallow lives. Being a Christian is more than just a title or a statement you post on Facebook; it’s about willing to take up our cross daily as Jesus said in Matthew 16:24. SSU need to count the cost, is it worthy to go through tribulations to become more like Jesus and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit, or is it more profitable to live easily and safely? Choose this day whom you want to serve.