“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” – Hebrews 12:2-4
We’ve all heard the phrase from our parents or grandparents, “it could be worse“. No matter how bad things get they could always be worse. In these verses the believers were encouraged to stand fast in their faith by the pointing out of the fact that their sufferings failed in comparison to the sufferings of Christ. Christ gave His all for us and we ought so to do the same.
These same words echo true for most in the modern first world churches. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” This is where most of us stand today. Many are the sinners that rise up against us but we have not had to resist them to the point of martyrdom. However, there was a key word in Paul’s address to these believers that is also applicable for us, and that word is: “Yet”
Paul never told them that they would be exempt from sharing in the sufferings of Christ but only that they had no excuse to complain or give up because they had not “yet” fully done so. However, many of them would soon get their chance as the Roman government moved more and more against the rising Christian church of that day.
Many people in our churches today come but don’t stay because they have been sold a false precept of Christianity. They are told that if they join the church all their troubles will be over, all their wants will be granted, and all their desires will be fulfilled. I’m sorry but that isn’t serving God, that is God serving you and it’s heresy. There is nothing easy about being a Christian or else everyone would do it. Hardships, trials, sacrifice, and persecution is as much a part of the Christian experience as blessings and miracles. In fact, the latter often comes only as a result of the former.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” – 1 Peter 4:12-14
Though serving God may not always be easy, it is assuredly always worth it. For if we are willing to share in the sufferings of Christ we are promised, also to share in His Glory.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” – Romans 8:15-18