Devotion for Ash Wednesday

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. ~ Philippians 1:27-30

We want all the blessings that come from God, but Paul tells us in this passage (one of many with the same message) that we are to suffer for Christ’s sake. Jesus suffered terrible physical torture and death for us. But even more painful was His separation from God. For a brief time that must have seemed like forever, Jesus became sin—our sin, and the Father turned His face away. Nothing we will ever be asked for suffer will be remotely close to the pain Jesus suffered for us. The prosperity preachers may tell us that if we believe in Jesus, we will enjoy a life of health and wealth. However, that is opposite of what Scripture says. We must be prepared to suffer for our faith.

Father God, in my human frailty, I want to avoid suffering. Yet Jesus didn’t avoid suffering—He willingly suffered pain, death, and separation from You for my sake. Give me the willingness and strength and endurance to suffer whatever You have for me. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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