For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
What? “Share in his suffering?” This seemed like such a happy verse talking about being adopted into the Family of God and being his heirs. “But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Why is that?
John Eldredge wrote a book called The Utter Relief of Holiness. In the book he describes that the hope of Christianity, the reason we are Christians, is that we have the opportunity to live exactly like Jesus. “You will experience a higher degree of loneliness, because there are very few people who seem to want this, so you will feel odd. You’ll wonder why people aren’t wrestling with the same things you’re wrestling with. You’ll wonder why they don’t talk about the same things you talk about or want to pray about things that seem so obvious and urgent to you. You won’t feel comfortable seeing the same movies your friends do, or listening to the same music, reading the same books. And so you’ll experience the loneliness that Jesus lived with. But he felt it was worth it (Eldredge pg. 153).”
Jesus felt lonely and odd. So, if my goal is to live like him then won’t I also feel the same things? There is no verse in the Bible that says to come to Jesus so your life will be better. But there’s tons of verses that say to come to Jesus so your sins will be forgiven and your life will be eternal. And this is what we are to expect: Share his suffering. Jesus even said in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows...”
This is not a bad thing especially since “sharing in his suffering” also accompanies sharing in his “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).” As Jesus goes on to say, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” So choosing to live like Jesus, choosing holiness, really is a really good thing even if accompanied with bouts of loneliness, feeling odd, or having troubles.
Rob said something really interesting when he was teaching on Sunday. He said, “Choosing my preferences over his holiness is like Jesus agreeing with the Enemy to turn the stone into bread when he was tempted in the wilderness.”
Jesus did not love a piece of bread more than ME! And he was really, really, really hungry. No comfort was more important than my salvation. If I don’t choose to share in his suffering, if I don’t choose to live like Jesus and choose his attitude, if I don’t choose holiness over my own preferences and creature comforts, then I would exchange eternity for a piece of bread, a momentary comfort. It just doesn’t seem worth it. Eternal life vs. a piece of bread? I thought I loved him more than that.
But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
Please forgive me for all the times I sought momentary pleasure and comfort over holiness. I do want to live like Jesus and have the choice every day NOT to sin instead of being a slave to sin and only knowing sin. I thank you that Jesus brought me options to my behavior and my vices. I thank you that I am part of YOUR family because of HIM. I thank you that the world will misunderstand me and make me feel odd and lonely as the proves to me I must be doing something right! I love you and and I thank you so much and pray in your Son’s name according to your good will. Amen.