But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (I Peter 4:13)
Ask yourself: Do I want to be like Christ?
Don’t answer yet. Think about Christ. He loved the unlovely. Associated with the outcast. Gave bread to the hungry. Blessed the children. Preached to multitudes.
But he didn’t stop there. He submitted to injustice. Forgave his tormentors. Prayed for his disciples. Died for a sinful world.
The life in Christ is not cotton candy and pleasant dreams. It is faith, hope, and love. Faith in the midst of unbelief, hope in a world of despair, and love to souls filled with hatred. Such faith and hope and love cost Christ his life on the cross of Calvary. Such faith and hope and love raised Christ from the dead on Easter morning.
Make the questions personal: Am I willing to love my co-worker who is difficult? Will I sacrifice so that the poor can have food and clothing? Am I willing to share my faith with my unbelieving family?
What is my response when I am not rewarded for the good work I do? When I am mocked for refusing to get drunk or watch R-rated movies? When even those close to me betray my feelings, and let me down?
Answer carefully: Do I want to be like Christ?