I used to love Toys R Us when my kids were smaller. Believe it or not, they had no idea that we could buy the toys and take them home. For a short time (too short), they treated it just like another playground. I wish that lasted a little longer because these days I find myself saying, “No,” often when asked to purchase a toy, or an app, or a device. Children carry a significant cost to them, and I need to be grown up enough to know how to manage that cost. Similarly, choosing Jesus carries a significant cost, and I need to be grown up enough to be able manage the cost of my own choice to follow Jesus.
Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” NIV
I. It’s a mature decision
Choosing to believe in Jesus and follow Him for a lifetime is an adult decision. I need to own the cost and surrender myself to the suffering that may result in living faithfully. If I am to love God first, then I need to also embrace the penalty that this world gives me for making Jesus my first choice.
II. It’s a rewarded sacrifice
The cost is endurable because the reward is immeasurable. Although some people may treat me like a cancer as they try to eradicate Jesus, the reward that Jesus has waiting for me will make any suffering I endure, including the surrender of my life, incomparable. Being a co-heir with Jesus is a source of encouragement for enduring the suffering caused by putting an end to the sin that lives in me.
In Romans 8:18-21 I can see Three Ways To Manage Every Believer’s Call To Suffering
As Believers, we are called to suffering, and if we don’t rise to that call we risk not being qualified as children of God. Clearly, this isn’t an issue where every decision holds eternity in the balance. However, there is a call to point our lives in the general direction of suffering. Paul gives us some ideas about why this is our reality and how to manage the reality of the call to suffering:
1. Stop looking to sin as a source of happiness
I need to stop finding gratification from sin and endure the pain of withdrawal.
2. Expect to be treated like cancer
I need to accept that the world will treat me like a cancer and willingly receive pushback for faithfulness.
3. Intentionally focus on eternity
I need to hold onto the hope of eternity to get me through any suffering I endure.
What about you?
How are you managing the cost of your choice to follow Jesus? Are you able to turn away from sin as a source of happiness? Do you expect to be treated badly by some people who are hostile to the Gospel? Do you remind yourself, regularly, of the hope you have in the resurrection?
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