The King’s People’s Pain June 3-7

In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” These words convey well the calling of Jesus that Mark recorded: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Jesus wanted to   make it clear to His disciples and the crowd that the principle of suffering that was in His future would also apply to His followers. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus—you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him. It’s easy to say you’re a follower of Jesus, until the going gets hard. But Jesus expects you to identify with Him, even if that means enduring rejection and suffering. Followers of Jesus will not escape pain and suffering but will gain eternal blessings.        


Day 1      Mark 8:32-38

Reflect: How do you explain Jesus’ response to Peter? Is there authentic Christian discipleship without the cross?  What does Jesus imply about what is shameful and what is honorable?

Apply:   How have Jesus’ words (verse 34), “deny yourself, take up your cross,” applied to your own life? How have you identified with Jesus in rejection and suffering? How do we “suffer”?

Pray:     Jesus, I want to know You better—more of the power and more of the sacred fellowship of sharing in Your sufferings. You will never lead me into hard places where You are not present.


Day 2       John 15:18-21 

Reflect: What are some examples of how the world “hates” Christ followers? At what level do you belong to the world? How does that impact suffering pain?

Apply:   In our country, most pain and suffering we face as Christians is not physical. How have you experienced emotional, spiritual, and social pain/suffering for your faith in Christ?

Pray:     Jesus, You intimately understand how I feel when the world hates me, because it hated You first. Give me the courage to stand for Your truth and live Your ethics even if those values cost me ridicule or rejection.


Day 3       Acts 5:27-41 

Reflect: What most inspires you from this passage? Have you ever experienced or witnessed Gamaliel’s words (verses 38-39)? How have you experienced/witnessed verse 41? 

Apply:   When have you made a decision to obey God rather than some human authority? What resulted? Is there a direct correlation between obeying God and suffering?

Pray:     God, strengthen my faith for the times when suffering, hardship, and persecution come my way. I want to be faithful to Jesus, no matter what.


Day 4      Hebrews 11:32–40

Reflect: What do you notice about the list of experiences in this text? What does it take to live for Christ no matter what? What do you think verses 39-40 mean?

Apply:   Who are the faithful believers you know who have endured some kind of pain because of Christ? If possible, commend them. What does “too good for this world” mean (verse 38)?

Pray:     Lord, You often use adversity and affliction to purify and strengthen my faith. Thank You for the witness of those who offer hope by their confident faith in the midst of their suffering, 


Day 5      2 Corinthians 6:3-10 

Reflect:  With how many of Paul’s experiences can you identify in your life? How do these things add integrity to one’s character, words, and witness for Jesus?  

Apply:   Based on this week’s readings, what is the Holy Spirit emphasizing about your faith? Ask the Lord to remove anything that blocks you from fully surrendering to Him.   

Pray:     Jesus, may I be a living epistle to all those I meet today. Following Your example, help me learn obedience through trials to Your praise and glory.


Put It Into Practice!

To give your life to Jesus requires prying it from a deadly allegiance to the world. In light of this, examine your life. Think of specific ways “dying to Christ” brings you a deeper experience of life and joy. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you rejoice in the “pain” that comes with a life committed to Christ.