Share in His Suffering; Share in His Glory

Last night my gamecocks got thrashed, demolished, humiliated. There are not even enough words to describe what took place. And in me there was some suffering. There was some surprise. But in the end it was just a college football game. What I really remembered through that was that even though at times we deal with suffering in our lives with Christ, we hold out hope that one day we will share with him in His glory.

Why do we stay with sports teams after they disappoint us over and over and over again. Is it because we hold out hope that good seasons will be just around the corner?

I grew up in Savannah, Ga, a hub of University of Georgia fans. And here was me and my dad, Carolina fans. And we stunk. We were so terrible. My dad would always say not to get my hopes up when we were winning because in the end, something would happen, something would go wrong and we would lose. And sure enough, things happened. Fumbles into the endzone at the end of games, blocked kicks, missed kicks, blown leads. It was crazy. But still I held out hope that one day all this suffering would be worth it. I had no assurance of this but I had hope.

Fast forward to 2005. Steve Spurrier comes to town. Everyone is excited. The hope is back. But still for the first few years, we weren’t much better. But then in 2011, we had our first 11 win season. And then another one in 2012 and then another one last year, even finishing fourth in the country.

So why did I give that silly little illustration? Well because here on earth we go through A LOT of suffering. As believers we are shut down constantly by this culture, warring against our very flesh and very minds that are trying to once again take over our lives. But I don’t have to hope against hope that this is really what’s going to take place. I can firmly put my hope in these next few verses.

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18). 

Why is this encouraging?
1. The Spirit testifies with our spirit that WE are God’s children. (vs. 16)
2. If we are God’s children, WE are heirs: heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ. (vs. 17a)
3. We are heirs if, we share in Christ’s sufferings in order that WE may also share in His glory. (vs. 17b)
4. We understand that the sufferings that we experience in the present are not even worth comparing to the glory that one day we will receive as co-heirs of Christ. (vs. 18).

As a follower of Christ we have hope that one day not only us, but creation will be restored. In the following verses of Romans 8, Paul talks about even the creation is groaning and waiting to be redeemed.

Matt Chandler, in his book The Explicit Gospel, puts it this way:

“We will receive new bodies like Christ’s resurrection body, and where we once lived as broken images of God, we will at that time bear the image of Jesus who is the perfect image of the invisible God.”

There is hope! There is a beautiful, restorative, amazing, glorious hope. We as believers understand that all these trials and temptations and struggles that we face on earth are coming to an end, sooner rather than later. One day we will stand before God completely restored, completely healed, complete. 
But what do we do in the meantime? How do we share in these sufferings, so that we may share in His glory?
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25). 

Patience is definitely not my strong suit. But when we can understand the hope of the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we wait. We wait patiently by preparing ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ. And we do this preaching, teaching, evangelizing, discipling. 
So even when you wake up after a hard last day, you can wake up fully assured that His mercies are new every day (Lamentations 3:23) and that His hope is everlasting and trustworthy. 
One day we will be completely redeemed. How are you waiting patiently and preparing you and others for His second coming and sharing in of His glory?
Blessings,
Joseph

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