Summary: We will all suffer for we live in a decaying world. Many will persecute Christians simply because they hated Jesus. Regardless, we must look ahead for to be glorified because the time for suffering won't last.
Do we know and understand that God’s creation has/is patiently been waiting for God’s elect? They have been waiting for a long time, in fact for more than a couple millennium. They are waiting for us to join them. They are waiting for the curse to be over. Who then is waiting for us? The Trinity and their angels are patiently waiting, as well as many saints who have preceded us.
We were always intended to be together and under no curse. But due to bad choices on the part of our ancestors, man took an awful fall. We were separated from His garden; forced to work for our food and cursed just as was the ground.
But God in all His wisdom had already foreseen what would transpire and laid plans for a wonderful solution through His Son Jesus Christ. His Son was the solution for a fallen world and God picked the time, place and circumstance. He would be sent to save the world from itself.
The question really comes down to this: Is God’s creation waiting for you? Have you made the decision to follow Him? You would think that if you had, it would be notice by them that wait. Is your faith strong? Do you have hope in that which cannot be seen? Have you suffered for Him?
If we recall, Paul suffered much for his beliefs. He was shipwrecked, hungry, thirsty, wet, dry, tired and snake-bitten as well. He was told by Jesus Christ Himself, to expect this kind of suffering. He was even blinded by our Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.
Paul was not easily defeated. He strived to “win the race” and to “fight the good fight.” How can you and I fight the good fight? What must we do to get the attention of our LORD and those of His creation who wait for us?
How then can we apply any of this to our lives? What must we do to avoid from losing hope? Hope, can be illusive. Hope in its simplest form seems somewhat odd. Hope can only be if that in which we have hope is unseen. If Jesus was directly in front of us, would there be any hope possible? Not hardly. Our hope comes from Him who we cannot see but know in Him is the truth.
We must also love our God for those that love Him will have good things happen to them. That never means that we will not suffer, for we will as promised by our Lord Jesus Christ; just as He did.
Often, we lose faith or don’t quite see the good that our LORD is working in us. A Christian man was marooned on a desert island and he had in short order, built himself a lean-to, a net to catch fish and a fireplace to keep himself warm at night. One day while on the other side of the island, everything he had was burned up by the fire he forgot to extinguish. He was devastated; until he was rescued. He was told that it was luck for him that those on the ship noticed the smoke that came from his rescue fire. Anyone else might have discovered the carnage left by the fire and blamed God. He saw it for what it was—good that comes from God for those who love Him.
Stories like this one inspire us just as should our scripture today. We are told that Jesus is the firstborn among us and He awaits His brethren and wants many of them. He gave His life so that we, His brethren, could someday join Him. What could be more inspirational? “I want you to be with me so bad, I am willing to give my life to make that happen!”
Could anyone else have “pulled this off?” Never in a million years! Many of us wouldn’t risk a hang-nail let alone death to save the lost, yet Jesus told us that there was no better love than he who would give his life for a brother (or sister).
How can you or I apply any of this to our own lives? Jesus and Paul provide us with much insight into this question and afford us the answer as well. In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells us that we are to carry our own crosses. Elsewhere He also warns us that we will be persecuted because of the hatred many have for him. They will hate us for they hated Him first.
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. He suffered not for himself but instead for us. He did so, that we might be reconciled to God. He defines His own saying “To those who much has been given, much is required.” He didn't have to die on the cross. It was His choice. He did it willingly for us.