Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Daily Message: Don't Be Discouraged, Your Reward is in Heaven ~ 2 Timothy 4:18

Today's message is really pretty simple, but it's unfortunately one that is often mistaught and misunderstood. Unfortunately, that misunderstanding becomes the reason many Christians lose hope, lose their faith, and stray from God.

Too many people (I was one for years) believe that Christianity is a path to an easy life of material wealth and earthly pleasures. The idea that we can have enough faith that God rewards us with possessions and pleasure in exchange is easy to believe if one takes a few verses from the Bible out of context. It's sad that quite a few evangelists today believe and preach this message, because it's just not true.

God promises us a reward for our faith, but it's a heavenly reward and has really nothing to do with what we experience in this life. To think otherwise is to doubt the faith of the apostle Paul, Steven, Peter, John, and many other faithful believers. It's really presumptuous to believe that we can have enough faith to avoid troubles and worries while we walk the earth. Because, if that's so, then our faith would have to be stronger than all those mentioned above. Who would dare believe that his own faith is greater than the apostle Paul's was?

Certainly not I.
"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." ~ 2 Timothy 4:18

But still, we are promised a reward. We have to understand though, that reward is eternal life in Heaven. Nothing less. Nothing more. In Matthew, chapter 5, verses 11 and 12, Jesus said himself that our "reward is in Heaven" and that we are "blessed" when we are persecuted for our faith. Blessed when persecuted?

That's right, because every day, every step, everything that we go through in this life is to be used to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ. Every trial, every temptation, every persecution is an opportunity to be a witness of the redeeming power of faith through Jesus Christ. It's easy to maintain faith when things go our way, when times are good, and nothing bad happens. But what does that do for the person who is suffering?

So often though, we see people leave church and turn to drugs or the bottle or something worse when facing troubled times. Some blame God and ask, "What good is my faith if it doesn't protect me from this?" Questions like this come when we misunderstand this simple fact...

Our reward for our faith is not of this earth. We will be rewarded with eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ and all our friends and family who died in Christ before us. Everything that happens to us, good or bad, here on earth is an opportunity to serve Christ and demonstrate that faith.

We will be rescued from every evil attack if we stand strong on our faith. Others are watching, and our reactions to tough times will either lead them toward Christ or away. Paul promises that our sufferings here on earth won't even compare to the "glory that will be revealed" in us once we see Heaven. And we are promised the Lord "will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom."

So keep the faith and know that, even in tough times, the Lord is with you and your faith will yield its reward, just not necessarily while we're here.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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