Are we called to inflict ourselves with pain so that we can experience what Jesus went through?
Are we called to bear the cross like Jesus did for the sake of the call?
What about what Peter said about “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”
Jesus suffered because God took our sins and placed it on his body and condemned sin in his body. He suffered so that we don’t have to suffer.
A simple explanation would be to take parents for example. My parents worked very hard to put me to Law school. Why? So that I have a better life.
Some then would argue that “those who live holy lives must suffer persecution”. You must understand that when the epistles were written they were written at a time where most Christians were Jews.
For a Jew to leave Judaism, it’s considered treason. Very much like an Iranian to leave Islam to become a Christian. Hence there was a lot of persecution.
Also when you read books like Peter, please note that there was an evil Emperor by the name Nero. It was rumoured that he wanted to rebuild Rome. So he burnt Rome down. When he realised his decision wasn’t accepted by the Romans he said it was the Christians who started the fire. Hence persecution started against the Christians.
Does that mean it will apply to us today? It really depends isn’t it. It depends which country you are living and what sort of government you have.
Does it mean we HAVE to suffer just to feel what Jesus felt? My answer is this. That’s stupid.
Would you as a parent want to put your children through hell just because you went through it?
The apostles were warned about difficulties because they were going through a transition of covenants. Today the transition is over.
We don’t live under those times anymore.
We don’t inflict suffering to make ourselves to be like Jesus. We are already like Jesus.
1 John 4:17
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
We don’t suffer in order to be holy. We are already holy.
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
We don’t suffer to get closer to God. You are already the new temple of God. How closer can God be? He lives in you.
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
I hope that helps.