Take a second and try to imagine a couple of things.
First, imagine the sufferings in Paul’s life. He was beaten with rods, stoned, bitten by a snake, shipwrecked, not once, not twice but three times.
Second, to imagine the sufferings in Joseph’s life. He was despised by his brothers, thrown into a well, sold into slavery, falsely accused of raped, and thrown into prison.
In 2 Corinthians Chapter 4, we read as Paul talks about the “Treasure” that is the Gospel, and us people, believers, followers of Christ as the Jars of Clay. He tells us of our brokenness, our imperfection, our weakness and our fragility, that despite all these things, we still have power, and that power comes from what is within us, in our hearts, and that is the message of the gospel. The treasure inside the jars of clay. And the message of the Gospel is what sustains us.
Paul mentions in verse 11, “ we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” Which reminds me of a verse from Luke 9:23, where Jesus says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
As followers of Christ we are called to deny ourselves, we are called to forego the desires of our hearts, the comforts that we have, and all this in order to follow God, to do His will, to be a light in the darkness.
Being a Disciple of God isn’t going to be easy, God doesn’t promise us smooth sailing all our lives when choosing to follow Him. And that is very evident when we reflect on the lives that both Paul and Joseph had.
But what is certain when following God is that it will be worth it. And through all this suffering, it was God who sustained Joseph, and God who sustained Paul and the message of the Gospel that gave them the power to continue living for God.
Now, have you suffered for Christ? Have you ever been pressed on every side, but not crushed? perplexed, but not in despair? persecuted, but not abandoned? struck down, but not destroyed?
Because that’s what the Gospel can do for you too, and that’s what God will do for you too.
The Gospel is so powerful and we need to be reminded of it everyday. That when we fail, God still loves us so much He would send His son to die on the cross for us. For every present, past, and future sin. His blood paid it all and atoned for our sins that we may be one with Him in heaven.
The greatest act of love that you can do, is to spare a person from an eternity of hell, of suffering. Giving them the opportunity to pick instead an eternity of joy, happiness, and a perfect life. And that act is through the gift which is the message of the Gospel.
Has your life changed as a result of the Gospel? Are you willing to deny yourself, to get out of your comfort zone, and to follow Christ wholeheartedly?
“If your life has not changed as a result of the Gospel, then the Gospel has not hit you yet.” - Nabeel Qureshi
Father helps us to become more like Christ. Help us to have the strength to persevere through trials, temptations, and hardships. Help us to be bold and able to share your good news to the people around us. Help us to look to you when we stumble. Thank you Lord, Amen.