No Sham At All

29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me (Philippians 1).

This word “granted” comes from the root word for “grace” and means to give graciously or to bestow or even to give a favor.  Paul writes here that in the same way that belief in Christ is by grace, and is bestowed upon to as a favor — so is “suffering for His sake” also a gracious favor.  The word “conflict” comes from the word meaning arena or stadium, as in a place where contests occur.  

Millions of people have seen or at least heard about the blockbusting film series called The Hunger Games, where children were chosen to participate in a contest to the death.  It was touted by the sponsoring government to be a great honor bestowed upon those who were thus given the chance to win glory for themselves and their district they represented.  As far as the movie goes, the honor of course was just a sham — however, in real life, the honor of suffering for Christ’s sake is no sham at all.

Lord, should we suffer at all for Christ’s sake This Day, help us to do so with grace, embracing the truth of it being a gracious favor bestowed upon us.  Amen.