Evening, July 3, adapted from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“If we endure [suffer, KJV], we will also reign with Him” — 2 Timothy 2:12
We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ, and with Christ, if we are not resting in Christ. Beloved friend, are you putting trust in Jesus only? If not, whatever you may have to lament for on earth, you are not “suffering with Christ,” and have no hope of reigning with him in heaven. Neither are we to conclude that all a Christian’s sufferings are sufferings with Christ, for it is essential that he be called by God to suffer. If we are rash and imprudent, and run into situations for which neither God’s will nor grace has fitted us, we ought to question whether we are not rather sinning than communing with Jesus. If we let passion take the place of judgment, and self-will reign instead of Scriptural authority, we shall fight the Lord’s battles with the devil’s weapons, and if we cut our own fingers we must not be surprised. Again, in troubles which come upon us as the result of sin, we must not dream that we are suffering with Christ. When Miriam spoke evil of Moses, and the leprosy struck her, she was not suffering for God. Moreover, suffering which God accepts must have God’s glory as its end. If I suffer that I may earn a name, or win applause, I shall get no other reward than that of the Pharisee. It is necessary also that love for Jesus, and love for his chosen, always be the motivation of all our patience. We must demonstrate the Spirit of Christ in meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness. Let us search and see if we truly suffer with Jesus. And if we do suffer in that way, what is our “light affliction” compared with reigning with him? Oh, it is so blessed to be in the furnace with Christ, and such an honor to stand chained with him, that if there were no future reward, we might count ourselves happy in present glory; but when the compensation is so eternal, so infinitely more than we had any right to expect, shall we not take up the cross with eagerness, and go on our way rejoicing?
Some of my thoughts:
Do we in the United States in the 21st Century really have a concept of suffering for Christ? Giving up the things that would ultimately destroy us physically and/or spiritually is not suffering. Certainly, giving money to church causes is not suffering, by the average world citizen’s measure (the average per capita income worldwide is around $3000).
The NASB translates the word suffering, “enduring.” The qualities spoken of in 2 Timothy include emulating a soldier disentangled from everyday life, an athlete competing within the rules, a hard working farmer, an unashamed workman… Lord, reveal to us the endurance we need, the endurance Jesus modeled.