Share in the suffering of the Gospel? Really? Isn’t that pretty much opposite of preaching we hear today about the good life?
2 Timothy 1:8 (NKJV) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
There is a real disconnect between Scripture and what you see on the Top Ten shelves at Christian bookstores. If we were to evaluate Christianity by the bestsellers list, we would determine it is all about having your best day, prosperity, abundance, divine health and personal happiness… but when you read Scripture the Christian life is about sacrifice, taking up your cross, suffering for Christ, persecution and denying Self.
What’s the deal? Does God want us to be miserable? Hasn’t He read Marketing 101 and figured out that suffering and sacrifice isn’t nearly as promotionally feasible as prosperity and happiness? Can’t we get more people on the Gospel train if we are selling tickets to abundance and blessing?
The Truth is this: GOD KNOWS what kind of life leads to the most blessing, reward and satisfaction. God also knows that following our Savior comes at a price and the price paid becomes part of the reward we receive in Eternity.
What we give up now, we see returned forever exponentially. It’s a better investment than gaining all the riches or “happiness” (usually defined as “ease, comfort and lifestyle”) that can be obtained in this life. The Eternal Stock Market is infinitely bullish but your investments must be made in THIS life.
Think It Over: The therapeutic, self-interested Christianity of today that is so popular (and sellable! Does that tell you anything?) is in direct contrast to the sacrificial, self-denying and eternity-minded message of Scripture.