By living a sacrificial life. Salvation is free, but graduation with highest honours costs dearly: "I have suffered the loss of all things" (Philippians 3:8). Paul once had a comfortable life, then everything changed. He was beaten almost to death eight times. He faced danger at the hand of friend and foe. He endured nakedness, sleeplessness, starvation, and thirst (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-29). Did he get discouraged? Yes. Did he give up? No. "I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake" (2 Corinthians 12:10 NAS). Did he pray for relief? Sure. Three times he asked the Lord to alleviate his suffering. When God replied, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness" (v. 9 NLT), he learned to "take pleasure in...insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles" (v. 10 NLT), leaning on God for strength. Where did he find such joy? Through "the infinite value of knowing Christ" (Philippians 3:8 NLT). Intimacy with Christ was his consuming passion. Though conscious of his problems, he stayed consecrated to his Lord. "For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ" (v. 8 NLT). Paul decided that whatever the cost, graduation with highest honours was worth it. "To share [Christ's] glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later" on that "future day...God will reveal who his children really are" (Romans 8:17-19 NLT). Live today with that picture foremost in your mind.
Published on Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 9:53 AM CDT