It’s not a popular topic, but Scripture seems to indicate (and experience seems to validate) that suffering and sanctification seem to go together. That’s right… I don’t know about you, but some of the holiest, most godly people I know, or have encountered, have suffered a great deal. Like I said, we’d like to change that narrative, but we can’t!
Here’s how Apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, expressed it…
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God! For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles [those who are not “children of God” through “new birth”] want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.” (1 Peter 4:1-4)
So if you’re suffering right now – for any reason, but especially because of persecution for your decision to follow Jesus – allow that suffering to drive you closer to the Savior, deeper in faith, and purify your life through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Don’t turn back to the old life but embrace your “new life in Christ” with devoted tenacity. The Lord will strengthen you, sustain you, and he promised to “never leave or forsake you!” After all, as this passage teaches, He is your supreme example in this regard!