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There are two aspects of suffering that I need to explain. There is suffering for doing good and there is suffering as a result of not obeying God or not believing God's Word is true.

This second type of bad suffering is avoidable.

Remember how the Israelites who left Egypt could not enter into their Promised Land because they disobeyed God? Their children entered in, but they could not enter in because of their unbelief.

They lost the right to live in the Promised Land because of fear, doubt, unbelief and rebellion against God. They would not have had to suffer living in a desert wilderness if they had been obedient to God.

You can suffer as a Christian for doing good, or you can suffer as a result of disobedience or ignorance. You cannot escape problems and difficulties in life. You can, however, choose to be an overcomer and to rise above problems and difficulties.

The Apostle Paul Suffered for the Right Reasons
The Apostle Paul lived a life where he had to endure many hardships. He suffered from many relentless attacks from a messenger of Satan. This evil force violently harassed him on his journeys.

He was shipwrecked. He experienced fierce opposition to his ministry by angry Jews. He was beaten and whipped and left for dead. He suffered for doing good (2 Cor. 11:23-29). However, the Apostle Paul was able to say with confidence the Lord delivered him from all his hardships.

"Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me" (2 Tim. 3:11).

The Apostle Paul even boasted in his own weakness. He believed the Lord's strength would carry him through his weaknesses. He realized he was made more than a conqueror through Christ who loved him.

Many people misunderstand what it means to suffer for the Lord. The Apostle Paul suffered for the Lord. He was persecuted for his faith. To suffer for the Lord is a trial of your faith. Temptations and hardships come to test your faith, but with faith and patience you can overcome all your hardships.

Do Not Suffer Needlessly
Most people do not understand the difference between suffering for righteousness and suffering for foolishness. Suffering that is noble is suffering persecution because of doing good. Suffering that is needless is suffering that occurs when you disobey God and sin.

Suffering for your faith like the apostles and martyrs is an honorable type of suffering. Suffering because you misunderstand the goodness of God, or because you continue to sin, is suffering for the wrong reasons.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
(1 Peter 4:14-16)
The devil comes and tempts you with evil. He is trying to stop your faith from working. He wants to entangle you in sin. Sin creates problems and limits in your life that are avoidable. Suffering for the wrong reason causes needless pain and hardships for you and others.
For what glory is it, if, when you be beffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
(1 Peter 2:20)
If you have made mistakes and sinned, God has made a way for you to purify yourself and receive forgiveness.

The Bible says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9-10).

Asking God to forgive you and then forsaking your sins settles the issue. This puts you back in right standing with God. You have become the righteous and forgiven. You are blameless in His sight.

He sees you through the righteousness of His Son Jesus. You have the right to come boldly into God's presence to find the help you need.

Most Christians suffer today for the wrong reasons. They suffer not because they are being persecuted for being good; rather, they suffer because of doing things they should not do, or they suffer as a result of spiritual blindness.

Spiritual blindness keeps people from knowing or believing the promises of God. Lack of knowledge about the rights, privileges, and blessings available to you through Jesus can open the door for the devil to destroy you.

God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hos. 4:6).

God does not promise you a life free from problems. He does not promise that you will not suffer. However, he does not desire you to suffer for the wrong reasons.

Suffering for the wrong reasons is a problem that imposes limits upon the believer. If we are going to experience the blessing of no more limits in our lives, we have to learn to discern God's will in suffering and hardships.

You should avoid suffering needlessly.

Source: No More Limits by Happy Caldwell.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Happy Caldwell
Web site: Agape Church
Happy Caldwell is the founder and Pastor of Agape Church, a strong, Spirit-filled body of believers in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is Founder and President of the Victory Television Network, which operates two full-power Christian television stations in Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas. He is also President of the International Convention of Faith Ministries (ICFM) located in Little Rock Arkansas.

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