2 Timothy 2:11-12; Romans 8:17-18
Most everybody in our day loves a fast food restaurant. You pull up to the ordering window and place your order. You then pull around; and for the most part, in less than five minutes, you have supper for the whole family. No labor is involved with the meal. You just get it and go. Our generation is full of youths who want something for nothing. We want a full course supper with greens, cornbread, and fried chicken; but we are not willing to wait for the meal that involves time and labor. Some would call us a microwave generation. Pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and eat.
“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: (12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:11-12)
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:17-18)
In our first text verse, the Apostle Paul is letting his young son in the faith know that unless we are willing to suffer, we will not be able to reign with our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great life to come, but not without a great preparation within the lives of all those who are ordained unto God’s Glory.
Jesus gave similar words to the Apostles by letting them know that if they wanted to be His disciples, they would have to take up their cross and follow Him daily. When Jesus was speaking of His cross, He was letting them know that they were going to have to give up some things; this would cause them much pain, but in the end it would pay off. Christ said:
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).
The depth of the application of these Scriptures is more than the carnal mind can handle. Our natural life wants to hold on to everything this side of heaven, but as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, we come to realize that nothing can compare to the glory that is to be revealed in us. This life is of little worth compared to our Savior, Whom we shall behold with our own eyes. The crown that He so richly desires to lavish upon our lives is far greater than anything that this life has to offer. But we must understand that it will not come without a price.
I do understand that our salvation is free. It was bought by the precious blood of Jesus; and outside of that finished work there is no crown. But that work must be applied to the life of each believer. Paul said, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Galatians 5:5). The resurrected life is put to our account by the Spirit, as we mortify the deeds of the body. Paul also said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). No Cross, No Crown!
Overcoming ourselves takes time. This life of righteousness inwardly and outwardly is a life that takes dedication, commitment, and discipline; but through the all-powerful grace of our Lord, we have overcome. May God strengthen our faith to persevere in getting lost in God. May we come to an understanding that the instantaneous work in our spirit-man travails in pain to manifest a new life that can be a new beacon of hope for many brethren. “… Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). No Cross, No Crown!