Why hardship is an essential element in the Christian life


For those who thought that God takes care of our problems and thus, we won't need to face much hardship anymore, you're in deep trouble. Hardship is an essential element in the Christian life. It is so important that the Bible describe it as the filter through which Christ-followers will enter the Kingdom of God.

There's an account in the book of Acts wherein this truth is made plain to all of us. Acts 14:21-22 tells us that "after preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God."

Read that last line. Paul and Barnabas, mighty believers in the Lord during the early church period, went to different places, teaching the brethren to be prepared for much hardship, and not to merely look for the good and easy life unlike how we live today.

Wait a minute...

Yes, the Lord Jesus Himself said that "the Kingdom of God is among you" (Luke 17:21), and that it "is at hand" (Mark 1:15). While He undeniably said that, He also said that "the one who endures to the end will be saved" (see Matthew 24:9-13). We are promised a lot of troubles and struggles as we live out our faith as Christians!

Friend, this is plain biblical truth. We live in a fallen world where sin runs rampant. Yes, the Lord Jesus overcame sin and the world, but the world still lives in sin. Those who are in Christ should know that if Christ faced hardship in paying the price for our sins, we will also face hardship in living out our faith in Him and in spreading the gospel of Christ to those whom God loves!

Here are some reasons why hardship is important:

1. It filters authenticity

Those who are genuine Christ-followers and not merely joining in for the fun will be known through hardship. Just like how a colander filters out large particles of food items from the stock, hardship filters those who truly love Christ and are willing to follow Him no matter what and separates them from the merely religious.

2. It releases aroma

Our lives, when we are proven faithful in the midst of hardship, release the aroma of Christ into the world. Just like how a rose releases its fragrance when its flowers are crushed, both our character and testimony grows more powerful with every time God helps us overcome any kind of trial. Through hardships, our character builds up.

3. It reveals the real overcomers

Following what the Lord said, hardships reveal those who "endure to the end." Unless we face some kind of trial and testing, we will never know how far we have become grown dependent on the Lord and in His mighty power, which is mighty to save.