Man by human nature is not a giver but a taker. He may be charitable on occasion but in general he seeks his own pleasure and satisfaction. This is manifested in that he has fear for himself, he is greedy, not happy with his lot in life, restless, self-centered, deceitful and prideful. (The root of all this evil existence is, of course, the love of money and the lusts for the things of this world which that money can provide. All for self.) Money and things will not bring true satisfaction and joy in life, but that’s hard to tell a self-centered person. God gives the only true satisfaction and joy but to obtain it requires that a man give up his own desires and take on His desires for his life. God provides this solution to happiness in His Son and his sacrifice on the cross. As long as a man is a taker, trying to satisfy his own lusts, he will never see his need for a Saviour. But, God is longsuffering and patient. He knows what is best for man and leads him to seek salvation. But with all God’s leading, man still makes his own choice: he does what he wants to do.
When God chose Israel to be a kingdom of priests to this world (Ex 19:6) they didn’t respond because they loved their sinful ways. To guide them to his plan for their nation He sent them godly priests, prophets, seers and judges and they were rejected. Finally He sent his own Son and not for Israel only, but for sinners of the whole world. This man, God’s only begotten Son, was rejected also.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (Jn 1:11)
This man gave of himself completely. He was a giver not a taker. Unlike others, his desires were to God and not himself. This is God’s greatest gift to us. Look what this man did for an ungrateful creation and see the longsuffering of God and his great effort to help us in our unseen need. Isaiah, chapter 53 sums this up very well. God’s Son, our Lord Jesus, was “despised and rejected of men”, a man of “sorrows” and “grief” for our sake, yet we hid our faces from him. He has “borne our griefs” and “carried our sorrows”, he was “wounded for our transgressions”, “bruised for our iniquities”, chastised for our “peace” and by his stripes we have healing. God laid the iniquity of us all on him and yet we have turned to our own way. He was oppressed and afflicted and led as a sheep to the slaughter and cut off from the land of the living for our transgressions.
Yet it pleased his Father to bruise him and put him to grief. Why? Because when we repent and make His soul an offering for our sins, God will see His Son’s sacrifice and give forgiveness. Herein we see God’s love and longsuffering with us all. All this in Isaiah 53.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet 3:9)
Man doesn’t want to stop his life and see his need for a Saviour. God, in his longsuffering, deals with our heart time after time until we finally come to a place where we see clearly the ultimate and eternal choice we have to make. We either give in to our own selfish wants and choose to pursue our own lusts and thereby reject all of God’s love for us or, we give up our life and give ourself to God and take on His desires for our life. We choose either eternal life or eternal death. No one else can make that choice for us.
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Rom 2:4)
For those that choose to serve God rather than their themselves, God gives great opportunities to be of service in his kingdom.
…. as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor 6:16-18)
John tells us that to, “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (Jn 1:12). What greater calling, what greater goal and purpose in life than to become God’s son manifested in this earth; manifesting the love of the God to a world of lost mankind.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom 8:18-19)
(Let me make something very clear here. The heart of man is a battle ground. God made us and one of the things he gave us in our creation is a free will to make our own choices. God does not force us to love him , nor does he cause us to forsake him. This choice is ours. Satan deceives us and entices us with the things of this world, but he is a liar and the father of it (Jn 8:44). His enticements are not founded in truth but catered to our own lusts. Once God, through the Holy Ghost, has powerfully worked with our heart to show us our need for a saviour and our need to repent, and yet we reject all this, then God gives us up to our own devises and deals with our heart no longer. See John 16:8-11, Hebrews 6:4-6, Romans 1:24-32.)
Until we make our choice God is longsuffering with us leading us to make a choice for Him. Jesus, because of his love for God, suffered all those things mentioned in Isaiah 53. When we receive the love of God then we also will have sufferings and persecutions. The more we let God express His love through us the more we will suffer at the hands of an ungodly world.
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (2 Tim 2:12)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Tim 3:12)
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; (Phil 1:29)
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (1 Pet 4:16)
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Pet 2:21)
HOW DO WE SUFFER
Romans 8:17 reads that we are to suffer with him. Since our sufferings will not be as the sacrifice for sin, just how will we suffer as a Christian? The scripture in Romans say we suffer “with him”. Not as Christ suffered 2000 years ago but “with him” now, in this present time. Since God’s Spirit is in us then the same spirit of longsuffering (Gal 5:22) is in us and we have that same suffering for the lost souls of mankind. That is the fruit of the Spirit. But it is not automatic in its manifestion in us.
The scripture says “if ” we suffer with him then we will also reign with him. It also says that all who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. If we aren’t suffering persecution then we know why. It’s our own life and our own choices. Our own decisions as to whether we allow God to reach the world through us. We decide whether the Holy Ghost uses us to “reprove the world of sin, and of righteous and of judgment”. That’s what Jesus said the Holy Ghost would do when he came (Jn 16:8). It’s us that is to stand for God in this world. We are called to be a royal priesthood.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Pet 2:9)
Righteousness is given freely to every Christian, but it’s our choice to let God work through us to show that righteousness to the world. We are called to be priests of God and make intercession for his creation and walk holy before him. If we walk as Jesus walks then we will be rejected and despised, ridiculed and sneered at. The more holy and godly we walk, the more we will be disliked by the world and the closer we will walk with God.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35-39)
Christians can suffer physical harm for their stand for God. We have many scriptural examples of this of the apostles in the book of Acts. Also the prophets as shown in Luke 11:49, 13:34, Acts 7:52, James 5:10. And a multitude of others as shown in Hebrews 11:36-38. The Catholic Inquisition was a horrible time and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs shows us much more. Above all there was that great suffering of Jesus at his trial and crucifixion (Isa 52:14).
Christians also have sufferings of the heart. Paul in his letters to the Corinthians and Galatians show his heart-felt sufferings for those who had gone astray from what he had taught them. Look at what God’s Son went through during his ministry as given us in Isaiah 53. Love endure a lot of offenses.
Another way of suffering is from our own ignorance (from the base word ‘ignore’). We reap what we sow. Not being obedient to God can cause him to withdraw from us so we can learn our lesson. Such as the basic truth that God will not bless pride and a haughty spirit. There are many lessons to learn in life to become the person God wans us to be. They don’t have to be hard lessons but they do have to be learned. Even Jesus had to learn.
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Heb 5:8)
God’s lessons are always for our own good and for his kingdoms sake. We have a calling to be as Jesus was here on the earth. He endured a lot and we will also as we desire to be like Christ Jesus. Can we be like Paul? He said:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. (Phil 3:13-16)