To be able to suffer, we have a true relational knowledge of Christ: it is not enough to know about him, we must know him personally if we are to suffer. Affliction will try our knowledge: Whom do you say Christ is? If we know him, affliction will make Christ plain and dear. It is a wonder how Christ is revealed when we are afflicted.
Polhill explains that we must have more than bare notions if Christ if are persevere in an evil day:
Many have the knowledge of Christ in a way of speculation, but we must have the savour of his sweet ointments upon our heart that we may follow him into suffering. We had need feel the sweetness of his blood in the calms of conscience, that we may shed our own blood for him. Let us not content ourselves to have Christ only in our bibles, but endeavour to have a proof of him in our hearts; a proof of his sweet-smelling sacrifice in our inward peace; a proof of his rich anointings in our supplies of grace. The experience of Christ in us, is a strong encouragement to suffer for him. He that hath a Christ only in notion, will fall off from him, but he that hath a tried Christ will hardly leave him.
A PREPARATION FOR SUFFERING
in AN EVIL DAY: