What are we willing to lose to gain Christ? Is He even our goal in this life?
8 Keep to a path far from her [temptation], do not go near the door or her house…21 For your ways are in full view of he LORD, and He examines all your paths.
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
I ran across a passage in my daily reading that made me ponder. Here it is:
11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13
We know that the “we” is Paul and Sosthenes, and maybe others (see 16:19-20). This is the same person who met Jesus personally and had several “talks” with Him. Paul even went to heaven and was shone the whole picture, some of which he was not allowed to talk about (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Yet, Paul endured such hardship for the Lord. In fact, Paul counted it quite an honor to “fill up in his flesh the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).
How about us? Christ gave His life for us. Paul lived his life in abject poverty for His Lord. What are we willing to lose to gain Christ? Are we willing to suffer pain, heartache, loss, or poverty? If not, then we really don’t understand what He did for us on the cross or what He has in store for us. We believe in the idea of heaven, but we haven’t grasped the reality of it, yet.
Just wait. We will. It’s one of the advantages of growing old. We learn not to overcome, but to stick close to our Savior’s side (we are already overcomers in Christ-Romans 8:37, 1 John 5:4). When Peter was most successful in walking on water was after Jesus caught him and raised him up. Then they walked back to the boat together (Matthew 14:25-33). That’s us! In our pain, in our heartache, loss, or poverty, we stick close to Jesus. We know that eventually we will make it to the other shore (v.34), and heaven will be all the sweeter. Great is His faithfulness.
This morning, let’s worship together in our respective locations.
Abba, thank You that You promise to catch us when we begin to sink. Thank You for walking us back to the boat and for getting us all to the other side. I know that Your kingdom is beyond words! In the meantime, may You remind us that this world is NOT our home and that we are just a’passin’ through. To You be the glory. Amen.