“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)
Did you notice the two gifts in these verses? There is the gift of faith (“not only to believe in him“). This is the gift that enables us to believe in Christ in the first place. Without this gift from the Lord, we would never be saved in the first place.
Then there is the gift of suffering (“also to suffer for him“). This is also a gift—but it is the gift no one wants!
The news may be unwelcome, but the complete package of redemption often includes this privilege of suffering for Christ. This is especially true of those believers in places that where the gospel has not yet taken firm root or where the gospel is being rejected.
Sometimes we forget how dark and wicked the societies and lives are that do not know Jesus. Even in Jesus’ day, we see the forces of evil at work, crowding in around every miracle, invading the synagogue where he taught, prompting accusation, encouraging betrayal and denial, calling out for the death penalty, and crowing over His death. Jesus said it would be the same for us.
And this has “been granted to you” so that you identify with Christ and learn just how His grace can sustain you during difficult times. “In this world you will have trouble”, but as the pressure of circumstance hammers you down, His grace makes it a stake in the ground, firm, fixed and able to withstand anything.
“Take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)