It appears that two dimensions come to the follower of Jesus from thoughts of suffering: One, it may never enter a person’s mind that ‘being a Christian’ and going to church and singing in the choir/worship team, and maybe giving some money, has anything to do with suffering (whatever that means). And, the other idea is that if I am not somewhat miserable, down in the mouth, persecuted by those around me, mistreated at work and not liked on the bowling team, at the hair salon or the golf course… I am not suffering for being a disciple of Jesus? Could be I am just an unpleasant person…even a jerk. Suffering for being a jerk and for following Jesus are very different things.
This has the same logic and perception of living ‘in this old world’ filled with grief and misery and then someday going to heaven and everything will be OK. Or, ‘this world is not my home’ but someday I will finally be happy and everything will be all right. This world is our home and it is our responsibility to live in it to the fullest with every intention of making it like the Kingdom of God… until it no longer our home. Trying to live in it with suffering without being a jerk, especially a religious jerk, are the first steps for a disciple.
“Follow me.” Jesus