Tuesday, July 4


Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians 4:9–13 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads. 12 We do hard work, toiling with our own hands. When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, 13 when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner. We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.


This is one of several places where Paul talks about his suffering as an apostle of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, 11:16-33). The guy was a stud! Hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, homeless, working hard, verbally abused, persecuted, lied about…treated like the world’s dirt and scum. 

How did he keep going? 

He did it all for the sake of the gospel. He loved Jesus and no price was too high to pay. He was tough and didn’t expect life to be a bed of roses. He knew it would be hard and embraced it and endured. He had grit. 


I was telling a friend recently that American Christians lack a robust theology of suffering. We are babies. Pansies. We lack grit. We are not suffering any of the things Paul lists here. Just the regular hardships, pressures and pains of daily life upset and derail us. When things don’t go our way, when our feelings are hurt, when life happens, we want to quit. 

Toughen up, buttercup!

God never promised that everything would go our way, that life would be a problem-free walk in the park. He didn’t promise that we’d never be sick, never suffer, never hurt, never experience defeat. But we often act like that is due us. 

Life is hard. Get used to it. Develop some backbone, some grit. In the words of Hebrews 12, you have not suffered to the point of shedding your blood for Christ. 

Prayer: Lord, I love You. I admire Paul who suffered more than I can imagine and kept moving forward with You. I need that kind of grit in my life. Sometimes I get stuck in a pity party, feeling sorry for myself. What a baby! Help me live with endurance, perseverance, grit!

More: 1 Chronicles 10-11, John 4