The Christian Way to Glory, Part Two
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:17
Glory is something that brings great distinction or fame. And glory is what God promises for all those who turn to him in faith; glory is the endgame of his eternal purposes; glory is the distinction of being a child of God living in the Kingdom of God. But the road to glory leads through suffering, as Paul reminds us in the Romans 8:17. There’s no glory without struggle.
The winter Olympics were in full swing when I wrote this devotion. Athletes from all over the world were gathered in Italy in the hope of glory, the hope of standing on the medal platform for the world to see. I don’t know every athlete’s story but I do know this: every athlete in these games had struggled, suffered, strained and trained for years just to earn the opportunity to compete in the games and perhaps gain great fame as a medal winner. That’s how life is. More often than not, suffering precedes glory.
And that’s true in our spiritual journey as well. Some of the suffering we bring on ourselves. By our sin and foolishness we get ourselves in trouble, we ruin our health, we sabotage our relationships. Some of the suffering is inflicted on us by others: abuse, neglect, betrayal, abandonment. Some suffering is simply the result of a fallen world: disease, accidents, and natural disasters.
Some suffering is instigated by Satan, our enemy, who sows seeds of guilt, despair, anxiety, and fear. And some suffering is sent by God – to discipline or develop us for some greater purpose.
We could spend a long time analyzing the suffering of this world, but that’s not Paul’s purpose in Romans 8. Paul is simply being a realist. Paul had suffered. His readers were suffering. And anyone who attempts to follow Christ in this world will suffer. But Paul was
confident that God’s purposes would prevail, that the process of spiritual transformation would be completed, and that he and we would become all that God intended. We can be confident as well.*
Bringing It Home
1. How have you suffered in your journey of faith? How have you responded? How has God responded?
2. Are you suffering right now? Let 1 Peter 1:3-9 restore your joy and confidence.
Lord Jesus, I marvel at what you were willing to suffer in your obedience to the Father and out of love for us. I confess that I often whine about the smallest of hardships and am tempted to abandon my faith when things don’t go my way. Keep my mind and my heart
firmly focused on the goal – a living relationship with you that will sustain me in this life and bring me into the life to come. Amen.
*This four-part series of Faith@Work devotions was largely inspired by Pastor Bryon Wilkerson’s sermon “The Great Reveal.”
Prince of Peace, Burnsville, MN