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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Joining God"

Date published: 11/14/2016
 
2 Timothy 1:8b “But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (NIV) 

   A friend called to ask me to join him for lunch. What a pleasure catching up and joining him for fellowship. Throughout my life this has happened many times, but I cannot remember one time that a friend called to invite me to join him in suffering for the sake of the Gospel. This does not sound as appealing as the first invitation, but in reality these opportunities present themselves daily. Throughout each day there are opportunities to suffer for Jesus. Showing love by stopping to help someone; caring enough to help those going through difficult times; standing on Christian principle regardless of the sacrifice; or as in 2 Timothy 1:8a sharing the gospel of salvation at the potential cost of friendship, position, or employment, “Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner.” (NIV)  

   The invitations we experience to join in with others are usually pleasurable, educational, or great opportunities. We live lives that are for the most part unaccustomed to joining in on an experience that might be difficult and painful. Paul shares in countless verses how suffering is a reality when Christians put God first. Yet what Paul shares about suffering in 1 Peter 4:13 is that its benefits and results are an insurmountable joy, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (NIV) The time lost can bring a smile to the heart when you see the gratitude of the one being helped. The fear of rejection for sharing Christ is lost in the exhilaration of seeing one come to salvation in Jesus. Any loss (such as time, money, rejection) you might experience for living righteously is overshadowed by a deepening relationship with God.    

   The Gospel that saved you and continues to transform you is yours, but are you willing to step into it? Paul asks you to think long-term in 2 Timothy 2:3, “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Out of your endurance you will experience more of Christ in increasing measures. You will experience miracles, direction, comfort, peace, and amazing stories of God’s work and life in you. 

Romans 8:17-18 “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.” (NIV) 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Discipleship” and “Satisfaction.” 

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