Winning for Christ
We know that the same God who brought the Lord Jesus back from death will also bring us back to life again with Jesus and present us to him along with you. These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:14-18 Living Bible (TLB)
As Paul explained why they suffered to follow Christ, he was speaking to those who were much closer in time to what actually happened. Some of those who listened may have actually witnessed the crucifixion. Some may have been among those who had seen the Risen Savior before His ascension to His place of honor at the right-hand of God. Yet, the work of spreading the Gospel was still necessary. Sharing this Good News so that everyone would believe that God had sent His only Son to save the world from sin was going to take some work and some pain. Exposing people to the truth of God's plan of redemption is in direct opposition to the enemy's plan for our destruction. God's people may have to suffer temporarily to let other people know that the enemy is defeated. Since Jesus has already suffered and died for sin that wasn't His, but that of everyone else, who are we to keep this reality to ourselves? Winning souls for Christ gives God His glory and ensures eternal life.
To pick up our own crosses and follow Christ (Mark 8:34) will not always be easy. For now, we exist on turf God allows to be controlled by the enemy of our souls. But, it is only temporary. Jesus demonstrated just how temporary it would be. Death couldn't hold Him for three days! Our bodies may be slowly wasting away as we grow older but our Creator has revealed to us through Christ His eternal plan for our existence. God has promised us that this short time of suffering will result in His endless blessings. We may not understand it, but that is of no consequence since we didn't create ourselves. What we do know is that we cannot give up. Our trust and belief in Jesus Christ commands us to look past the trouble we see around us now to the joy we are promised that awaits us when He returns and to lovingly share this truth and our faith with others. Let's thank Him for the privilege.
The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.