As Christians in this fallen world, we will end up ‘losing’ many things in our lives. Things such as pivotal relationships with unbelieving family and friends who are blinded by the enemy and do not understand why we stand for what we stand for. Also things such as occupation, status, reputation, business, and even material possessions as well due to persecution from the unbelieving world.
For example, here in America we have already seen Christian Business Owners like Jack the Colorado Baker being taken to court for refusing to compromise his Biblical Beliefs. Needless to say, throughout these legal battles, he has ‘lost’ a lot of money and his cake business has suffered as a result too. In the Bible, we read about Paul the Apostle writing to the Philippians during his imprisonment in Rome, calling all the former things in his life as ‘loss’ for the surpassing greatness and value of knowing Christ!
Philippians 3:7-9 “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
From Breitbart.com: Colorado Baker Sued Again, This Time for Refusing ‘Gender Transition’ Cake
Jack Phillips, the baker who was sued for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of his religious conscience, was back in court on Thursday, this time for turning down a request for a “gender transition” cake.
It wasn’t enough for Jack to lose 40 percent of his business after Colorado pursued him the first time. It wasn’t enough for Jack to have to defend his freedoms all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And it wasn’t enough for Jack and his family to endure years of harassment and even death threats.
For some, it won’t be enough until Masterpiece Cakeshop closes its doors and Jack Phillips is in financial ruin. They want Jack, an average American business owner, to pay a hefty price—all because he wants to live according to his faith. – Source
Therefore, it is safe to say that, to this world and in this life, we will seem like ‘losers’ for the sake of knowing and following our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What may seem like great ‘losses’ in this life are in reality the ‘direct opposite’ according to God’s Will and Plan for our lives. Many times, what is right in the ways of the world is at odds with the ways of the Lord. Basically, what seems like ‘defeat’ in the here and now is actually ‘victory’ in the heavenly realm!
Saul was a self-righteous Pharisee who was zealous in his persecution of Christians when God encountered him on the road to Damascus. In this encounter, Saul was blinded by God so that his spiritual eyes could finally be opened and see! Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Up until that point, Saul thought he was doing God a service by persecuting and killing the Christians. Basically, all that Saul, who later became Paul, was doing that he considered as ‘significant’ actually amounted to worthless ‘dung’ once he realized the ‘loss’ of his menial worldly identity and the ‘surpassing greatness’ of his identity in Christ!
Acts 9:3-9 “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, LORD? And the LORD said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, LORD, what wilt thou have me to do? And the LORD said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
From Gotquestions.org: “Is suffering for Christ always going to be a part of being a follower of Christ?”
Answer: The Bible talks a lot about suffering for the sake of Christ. In the era in which the New Testament was written, followers of Jesus were often ostracized by their own families and communities. Some of the worst persecution came from the religious leaders (Acts 4:1–3). Jesus told His followers, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). He reminded His disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).
Second Timothy 3:12 says, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” As in biblical times, many Christians today have found that making a public declaration of faith in Christ can result in imprisonment, beatings, torture, or death (Hebrews 11:32–38; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 3:8; Acts 5:40). Often those of us in free nations shudder at the thought, but we feel relatively safe. We understand that there are thousands who suffer daily for the sake of Christ and are thankful we don’t have to. But is there only one kind of persecution?
Suffering can take many forms. By choosing to obey the Lord Jesus Christ, we are setting ourselves at odds with the world. Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (NASB). By closely adhering to the teachings of the Bible, we set ourselves up for rejection, mockery, loneliness, or betrayal. Often, the cruelest persecution comes from those who consider themselves spiritual but have defined God according to their own ideas. If we choose to take a stand for righteousness and biblical truth, we ensure that we will be misunderstood, mocked, or worse.
We need to keep in mind that no threat of suffering deterred the apostles from preaching Christ. In fact, Paul said that losing everything was worth it “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10, NASB). Acts 5:40- 41 describes the reaction of the apostles after they received another beating for preaching about Jesus: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
Suffering in some form is always going to be a part of being a true follower of Christ. Jesus said the path that leads to life is difficult (Matthew 7:14). Our hardship is also a way of identifying with His suffering in a small way. – Source
We may sometimes feel like ‘losers’ in this life; I know on many days I do. For example, as a parent of 2 prodigals, I often feel like a ‘loser as a Mom.’ Some may say, “How are you a ‘loser as a Mom’ when your grown adult children choose to be ‘willfully ignorant’ and make choices that go against what you taught them?!” Each soul is responsible for their own lives, sins, and choices.
That is true; it is not our fault when others make decisions and choices that harm themselves and others. Still, it is hard sometimes not to feel like we ‘failed’ in some way. In this life we will all make mistakes, ‘lose,’ and fail at things, but the silver lining is that as Blood-Bought Children of God we have hope of a new life with Christ where there is ‘vindication and victory’ that awaits us!
In Heaven there will be rewards for the Believer; the Bible tells us that we will receive Crowns. Crowns are often associated with ‘winning’! There are 5 Crowns we can ‘win’ and receive. They are the Crown of Righteousness (those who loved His appearing), the Incorruptible Crown (those who faithfully ran their race), the Crown of Life (those who endured suffering for Christ and who love God), the Crown of Glory (those who longed for His appearing), and the Crown of Rejoicing (those whom God will wipe every tear from their eyes)!
Compared to our life here on Earth, it is clear that our life in Heaven will be much different! Ultimately, we will see the culmination of Christ’s work on our behalf, and we will finally be the ‘winners’ through Jesus!
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but on receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
From Gotquestions.org: “What are the five heavenly crowns that believers can receive in Heaven?”
Answer: There are five heavenly crowns mentioned in the New Testament that will be awarded to believers. They are the imperishable crown, the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness, the crown of glory, and the crown of life. The Greek word translated “crown” is stephanos (the source for the name Stephen the martyr) and means “a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor generally.” Used during the ancient Greek games, it referred to a wreath or garland of leaves placed on a victor’s head as a reward for winning an athletic contest. As such, this word is used figuratively in the New Testament of the rewards of heaven God promises those who are faithful. Paul’s passage in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 best defines for us how these crowns are awarded.
James tells us that this crown of life is for all those who love God (James 1:12). The question then is how do we demonstrate our love for God? The apostle John answers this for us: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). As His children we must keep His commandments, obeying Him, always remaining faithful. So, as we endure the inevitable trials, pains, heartaches, and tribulations—as long as we live—may we ever move forward, always “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and receive the crown of life that awaits us. – Source
Therefore, hold on a little longer, Brothers and Sisters; fight the good fight of Faith, finish your race, endure until the end! Before we know it, we will be finished with this old world and life and begin our new life in Heaven with Jesus our Savior! We will be known and loved like we never have been before! The Bible tells us that there will be no more mourning, crying, death, or pain, and no more evil temptations from the world, the devil, and the flesh! All things will become new, and we will be singing, praising, and rejoicing our Lord God like never before! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank You, Jesus!
1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Until next time… Maranatha!
(JESUS = THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE)
Jesus Will Come!