The Way of the Cross is not an easy road to follow. We don't have to look far to realize that. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as "The Faith Chapter". It contains examples of people who walked by faith and not by sight. In Hebrews it is written Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:36-38
Throughout the New Testament, we are constantly reminded that there is a price to pay when we choose to follow Christ. It is worth it!
While Paul was imprisoned, he wrote a letter to the church at Philippi. These people were near and dear to his heart. Paul mentions, in Philippians 4:15, that they had been the only church to support him when he left Macedonia and they sent him aid again and again. In this letter, Paul thanks them for their generosity but then mentions something else which I would like to focus on... contentment in the face of adversity.
Paul writes that he has learned to be "content" meaning satisfied to the point that he is not disturbed or disquieted (see Philippians 4:11 Amplified Bible). This comes from a man who has been stoned, beaten, left for dead, imprisoned and even rejected and abandoned at times by other Christians! Paul writes: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)
What is this secret? What is the secret to living victoriously regardless of our circumstances? The knowledge and acceptance that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I think I need that scripture tattooed on my right thumb so that every time I pick up a cup of tea I'll read it! We are not who we are by our circumstances but by the way we respond to them.