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The Price You Have To Pay

Romans 8:17-18, “And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory. For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!” (AMP).

I used to love Football, that is until my baby brother started playing. You see, my brother had more bruises on his body than I’ve ever seen on anyone before. He was playing for a team in my hometown as at then, and he paid a hefty price to play. I mean, the coaches ran him until he almost dropped. They ran the guys through all kinds of exercises-hitting, tackling, and sweating. Some lost teeth or received broken bones. And some guys actually quit because it was just too much. But finally, the games began, and they were winning! And after one of the games they had a great celebration coming back on the bus. In that moment, they weren’t thinking very much about their bruises, because they had just had a 20-0 shut-out and they were keeping their winning streak intact. In fact, my brother was the MVP! However, that afternoon, he weighed the pain he’d experienced against the pleasure of the win. Now, what he concluded may actually help you weigh yours.

Romans 8:17-18, we know was written by Paul, and this is a man who had a lot of bruises! Not from football, but the bruises he suffered in his life from taking his stand for Christ. Listen to Paul’s list of bruises, “I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches…” (2 Corinthians 11:25-28 MSG).

Now that’s what you call bruises! But does that hinder Paul or dampen his perspective? Absolutely not! Here’s what he says, “If we are His children, we are also God’s heirs. If we share in Christ’s suffering in order to share His glory, we are heirs together with Him. I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:17-18 GWT). I like that word “insignificant”, it’s defined as “having little or no importance or value.” In other words, for Paul, when you compare the pain with the pleasure; when you compare the sacrifices with the rewards, there’s no comparison. In fact there is little or no importance or value at all. The Pain is Worth it! Now that’s one way to look at pain with the right perspective!

Now, Paul said, ‘We are going to have an ultimate victory.’ Which means one day all of our pain will be over. In fact, Revelation says it like this, “I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, PAIN GONE—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”(2:3-5 MSG). Our pain will eventually be gone, for good!

You see, what Paul was talking about here is a reward that DOES LAST.  Paul said any hurt we have here is going to be like minutes compared to the forever celebration of victory; even the victory in this life-a sense of having overcome, of having gone through this with Jesus, of knowing Him better than I’ve ever known Him before. Having tasted His power as I never would have tasted but for the hard times.

Paul encourages Timothy and Us so greatly with these words, “Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve.  And if anyone competes as an athlete [in competitive games], he is not crowned [with the wreath of victory] unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:3-5 AMP). Yes, there is an ultimate victory, but for the time we are here, we must “Take our share of hardship [passing through the difficulties we are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus…” (AMP).

Now, truth is, maybe you’re in practice right now and you don’t feel very victorious. In fact, you feel quite bruised! You’re trying to do what’s right, and it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe God has trusted you with the assignment to show His joy in the midst of physical suffering, because that’s when everybody’s watching you to see if what you’ve got is real. Maybe you’re paying a price for your stand for Christ, and it’s tempting to compromise, to back off, or to give in to despair, or just to give up. But note this: God will always remember your faithfulness, and He will reward it a hundred times over!

If you make your decisions based on what’s comfortable, like those guys who quit football practice, you will never know the thrill of victory! I love the hymn that says, ‘It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase. It will be worth it all when we see Him.’

This enabled Paul to have a different perspective on his hurts. He said in this same chapter, ‘We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.’ The victory will be so glorious that I am willing to take my hits in practice! Because, believe it or not, as painful as it is, you are still victorious, even in this! So, don’t quit now! The practice is just a little while; the victory party for the believer is forever!

Now, I know some of the hits you’ve been taking lately make you want to take off your uniform, remove your helmet, deflate the football, hang up your cleats, walk off the field and quit! However, before you select that as your final answer, remember this:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “…We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair; hunted down and persecuted, but not deserted [to stand alone]; struck down, but never destroyed…” (AMP).

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (MSG).

Romans 8:31-39, “So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (MSG).

In other words, yes, life is tough, in fact it’s a lot like practice! You get hit from multiple people at the same time from all directions! You’re hurting, in pain, tired, sore, bruised and battered and ready to throw in the towel, quit and hit the showers! I get it, believe me! But with all the Scriptures say about our God and our ultimate and total victory, do you really think it wise to give up now? Absolutely not! “…SO WE’RE NOT GIVING UP. HOW COULD WE!…” Paul, I Agree! How Could We Dare Give Up Now?!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” (Thomas A. Edison).

So, You’re Word For Today is ENDURE!

Keep in Mind: The Price of Your Pain, WILL Pay Off!

Romans 8:15-21, “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.” (MSG).

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