Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
I cannot think of one person I know, who is a believer, who enjoys and looks forward to suffering. I know I do not. However, every believer I know, without exception, looks forward to sharing in God’s glory. For many, this glory is simply being in heaven with Jesus Christ and enjoying all the glories that heaven has to offer. However, sharing in God’s glory is much more than simply being in heaven with Him. The Bible says that God saves all believers for His glory. Furthermore, the Bible says that believers will share in His glory. This is a difficult concept for most to understand. Equally as difficult is the method by which we will come to share in His glory – suffering. This suffering, I believe, is two-fold. First of all, there are those who suffer because they are a believer. Secondly, there are those who suffer as a believer. Either way, the Bible says that believers are to expect suffering and are to rejoice in it. Peter says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing” (1 Peter 4:12-13). This is the Word of the Lord!
So when we suffer, we are to remember three things. First of all, it is through suffering that we will come to share in God’s glory. Paul says, “We suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:17). Secondly, we must understand that whatever the suffering may entail, it is only temporary when considered in the breadth of eternity: “For momentary light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Finally, God allows us to suffer in order to call us to an eternal hope: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Romans 8:18, 24-25).
I have personally experienced enough suffering and darkness in my life that I have concluded this world really has nothing for me. Because I have suffered, I have come to long for eternity. To put it plainly, I hope for that which I do not see. And what is this hope? It is the future glory that shall be revealed in me (Romans 8:18; Colossians 3:4). It is the future glory that is described as an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). It is this future glory that will far exceed anything I have ever seen or heard or longed for in my heart, as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Therefore, I encourage you to remember and recall these things to mind as you think about that which you have suffered or may be suffering now – We share in His sufferings that we may share in His glory!
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). I had a couple visitors over the weekend. Two ladies were making their way door-to-door, inviting all to come to a Bible study in the area. Lucky me, I just happened to be at home.
The conversation began innocently enough. They were talking about “the fellowship,” and how I could come be a part of their new Bible study. I finally asked what this so called “fellowship” was. One lady answered, “The Way International.” She then proceeded to talk about knowing God. So I asked her, “How do you know God?” Five minutes later, when she finished answering my question, I still had no idea how to know God. If I had 60 seconds to live and this lady had to tell me how to get ready to meet God, I would have entered into eternity totally unprepared. So I asked another question, “What happens when you die?” Her response almost brought me to tears: “You go into the ground and your soul sleeps until God comes again.” I asked both of them about Paul’s words, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” and “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ for that is far better,” to which they responded, “I’m not real sure what he meant there.” I asked them who Jesus was, and they responded, “God’s son.” But they would not say He was God the Son, that is, He was God who had come in human flesh to save sinners. And herein lay the crux of the matter: Who is Jesus?
The Bible tells us that Jesus is God. “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father,” Jesus said. He also said, “I and the Father are One.” It was for this reason the Pharisees wanted to kill Him: He was claiming to be God and in their minds, that was tantamount to blasphemy. And this truth is that which separates true believers from false believers and others who are lost. Their minds have been blinded by the devil so that they cannot see the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” When our eyes are opened and we see this truth for the very first time, everything changes. His Light shines in our hearts, which in turn, opens our eyes to the “Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” These two ladies had obviously not seen this Light. In their hearts, they remained “blinded”, so that they “might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
I left them with this “thought to ponder.” I asked them if we all agreed that God created everything in the heavens and on earth. They agreed He did. I told them that chapter one of both Colossians and Hebrews clearly says Jesus did it. Therefore, if Jesus created all there is, He has to be God. There is no other possible conclusion. Both agreed they would read those chapters. It is my prayer that God will open their eyes to the truth of who Jesus Christ is before it is too late. And that is my prayer for you as well, that you would see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God! To God be the glory!
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do no be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
The Bible has a lot to say about time. We are told to make the most of time – to be careful how we spend our time. We are admonished not to waste time. The unbeliever is warned today is the day of salvation – now is the time to be saved. Why all this emphasis on time? The reason is because God knows time is only for a moment but eternity is forever. We are told to use our time wisely because we do not know how much time we have: “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The truth is simple – God has allotted to each one a certain number of days, a certain length of time. The Bible says, “And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:16). This is the Word of the Lord!
Because time is so precious we are told to be careful how we use it. We are warned not to use it unwisely but to make the most of it. We are not to foolishly squander it but we are to seek to glorify God in how we use the time He has granted us. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is the “author and finisher of our lives” (12:2). However, as long as we insist on spending our time as we see fit, He cannot fulfill His will for us. As long as we insist on cutting our own paths, He cannot lead us into His paths of goodness and righteousness. As long as we insist on holding the reigns of our lives, He cannot be our Lord. As long as we insist on doing things our way, according to our own desires, He cannot bring about His desires or guide us into His wholeness, usefulness, and blessings. Therefore, we must “be careful how [we] walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of [our] time.”
Charles Beaty and his wife were living the American dream. The insurance agency they owned was beginning to take off. They had the first of their four children. They bought their first house. His wife began talking to him about missions. She thought they should look into offering themselves for service. His response was, “that sounds good honey, but we won’t be going until our kids are graduated from high school, and we have them out of the house and we’ve finished that mission.” However, after attending a weeklong conference on missions that was filled with the need to reach the unreached peoples of the world, everything began to come together. A year and six months later, they were in France learning French, preparing to go to North Africa to a people group that was restricted.
Most of us think we have forever, that there is another day, another year, another 10 years. This is what Charles Beaty thought. It is troubling that many want to wait until things are “just right” before they will consider God’s will for their lives. However, thankfully Charles did not. He went to North Africa at 31. Three years later, on October 2, 2001, he died in his sleep after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 34. Only eternity will tell what God was able to do through him in the three short years he had to make a difference for the kingdom. How much time do you have left on this earth? Only God knows. Therefore, “make the most of your time.”
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Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
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