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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Have All of Me"

Date published: 03/01/2018
 
2 Timothy 1:8b “But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”

   How often do you receive an invitation to come and suffer? Reading this verse from the world’s point of view offers little appeal to the reader. If you want pain from me, you had better make a well-reasoned argument. This statement for suffering seems dry and unappealing rather than appealing to the grandeur of a larger vision. 

   Now read this sentence through the lens of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul invites you to join him “for the gospel.” In Luke 9:23, Jesus instructs you how to live for the gospel: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (NIV)  Paul is in fact cushioning the severity of the pain by only mentioning suffering instead of the death Jesus mentions in John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.” (NIV)  Paul ends his appeal with the benefit of experiencing the power of God when you suffer. You cannot get much better than experiencing the Creator of the universe! Jesus was a little more direct in Luke 14:33b saying you have to give everything if you want to experience God, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” (NIV) 

   This short verse reflects the exchanged life of living for Christ. You must be willing to suffer for Jesus if you want to experience Him. Most are not willing to give God that chance because their lives are dedicated to self and to tomorrow rather than to God. Until you are willing to stop restraining God by living for self and allowing tomorrow to control your life, you will struggle to experience the power of God. This type life is described in Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (NIV) Jesus illustrates this in Luke 12:14-21 when He said in verse 20, “But God said to him, 'You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (NIV) 

   Accept Paul’s invitation to suffer knowing that your life is in God’s hands. You live not for the things of this world, but for the Gospel that brings salvation and life to all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Savor not the things of this world, but the experience of being a part of God’s power in this world. Are you praying for wants, needs, and comfort, or are you asking God to join you in your suffering, so that God’s maximum work can be done? Respond as Peter did in John 13:9, “‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not (wash) just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’” (NIV) 

2 Timothy 1:12 “That is why I (Paul) am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” (NIV) 

 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “God’s Purpose For You” and “Knowing God’s Will.” 

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