Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fight, Finish, Keep

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

Paul was a man who knew suffering.  One only needs to read 2 Corinthians 12 to see what he went through.  Many times he experienced beatings, shipwrecks, hunger, danger of robbers, danger from people (not just his enemies but also people he considered friends). Not only were his afflictions physical there were times he experienced spiritual battles were he even despaired of life. It only takes a momentary reading to see the things he went through are probably far worse than anything you have gone through in your life.

But the point is not the suffering.  We can cry and complain that the trials are too much to handle, but is that what Paul did?  No, he compared the hard times that tested him to what was awaiting him in eternity.  This life is but a vapor, but after death comes resurrection and a crown of glory awaiting him.  The tears which we cried in this life will be wiped away and be replaced with the joy we have of knowing Christ. Paul knew this and was awaiting this.

But Paul doesn't end here.  At the end of this chapter, Paul gives us some words of comfort:

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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Are we troubled?  Let not our hearts be; for God's love shown through Jesus Christ on the cross cannot be separated from us.  Though great joy and peace awaits us in the future when we stand with Christ for eternity, those same things can be experienced here.  All we need to do is to ask the Lord to help us to hold fast through the trials and to comfort us.  Paul did, and we know what he said at the end of his life:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8

Saints, I know this life is hard and I know trials and tribulations will come, but I encourage you with this: fight this fight; finish this race; and keep the faith.

A song to encourage you; one of my favorite hymns:

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