Today’s Scripture Reading: Romans 8:17-23
“And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Ever had someone say to you, “I’ve got good news and bad news, which do you want first?” We usually want the bad news first, so that the good news will wash over it and leave us with a good feeling. In some ways Paul does just that in writing Romans 8, except that it goes Great news, Bad News, Great News. We are reminded that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and that we are adopted heirs with Christ! Awesome news, right? Then Paul says this:
“And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:17
Suffering. There it is. There had to be a catch to all the good news, right? You can’t have the good without the bad…etc. etc. The Christian life is fraught with suffering, there is no denying it. What is unusual about this passage though is Paul’s attitude toward suffering. He had experienced incredible suffering (scorn, rejection, beatings, even a stoning) and knew more suffering would come, which it did. Yet in all of this he was not discouraged or defeated. Read his attitude and thoughts on suffering:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
Consider this – Paul recognized how valuable, immeasurably valuable, the gift of Jesus Christ was that he did not even think of suffering as something to compare it to. Where did this way of thinking and seeing come from? I’m convinced it came from Jesus. The writer of Hebrews says it like this:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
Jesus not only endured suffering, but He embraced suffering as the pathway to a greater joy. How great must the prize be if you willing and faithfully endure suffering and heartache so that you might receive it? When the prize is Jesus – not what Jesus can do for you – but Jesus himself alone, it more than worth the suffering this life brings. You might even say that it’s not worthy to compare the suffering for the glory that is in the prize Christ Jesus.
Prayer Focus: Today, ask your heavenly father not only to help you endure suffering, but to embrace it with joy, knowing that when we suffer, we will be glorified in Him.