The Reward is Life and More Life!

To say that the last few years have been wild is grossly understated. They’ve been unprecedented, and we’ve had to navigate loss, anxiety, isolation, stress, frustration, all while having a keen awareness that all the institutions we’ve counted in the past are fragmented and corrupting. This and more has been playing out as many of us have had to come to terms with all our isms. As disturbing as this backdrop is, our precious Lord and Savior entered the world with none of our modern conveniences and a climate and environment that was even more wicked, chaotic, and ruthless than ours today. Luke 2:7 tells us that he was born and laid in a manger, a trough where animals were fed, because there was no room for him in the inn. This verse gives us all we need to know about the humility of God, and how He reveals what is important in life through the birth of His only begotten Son.

We live in a society that is enamored with material things. The higher the price, the more we covet and seek them. Designer brands and extravagance are must haves for the wealthy and famous, and because so many us, believers too, want that lifestyle, we will spend our hard-earned dollars on things we can’t afford. We think these things represent the best, but we must contrast society’s notion of the best with God’s standard of the best. The two are often completely different, and a huge chasm exists between them.

Jesus Christ is our King! The Kingdom he belongs to is eternal, and it will never end. 1Corinthians 4:20(NLT) declares, “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” There is no treasure on earth that compares to the treasures of God’s Kingdom. Its wealth is inexplicable, its power is unlimited, and its glory is unfathomable.This is the Kingdom that Jesus Christ left in order to come to the earth. He came here to carry out God’s mission. And this mission was to rescue us from the kingdom darkness and bondage of satan, so we could be become God’s children of light.

During the time in which Jesus Christ was born, there were many kings and kingdoms in the earth. Although none of them could hold a candle to the Kingdom of God, these earthly kingdoms were still abundantly supplied with opulence and wealth. The kings and kingdoms were adorned with silver, gold, rubies, emeralds, and many other treasures that people considered precious and rare. Yet, none of these earthly kingdoms sent greetings and tidings, none came to pay homage to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He was deserving of the greatest tributes humanly possible, but they didn’t lavish him with gifts of silver or gold or throw extravagant celebrations in honor of his birth.

During the time that Jesus lived on the earth, people that were in poverty, downtrodden, sick and diseased, were often treated with disdain and disgust by those in power. And as it is in today’s modern society, there were disproportionately more of them than there were of those that had wealth. Jesus Christ was born to a young virgin, Mary, and his foster-father, Joseph, was a carpenter, a trade that Jesus no doubt picked up. They didn’t live an opulent or lavish lifestyle but worked hard and lived humbly. Hebrews 4:15(NLT) tells us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” We must understand that Jesus Christ was not exempt from our struggles. He faced all the hardships we experience. We can be confident that he knows how difficult and challenging life can be, and he has tremendous compassion for us all.

God requires us to demonstrate this same compassion to others. We often complain about the struggles we face day to day. We don’t like the discomfort of it all, and some of us even blame Heavenly Father for the harshness we endure. 1John 1:5(NLT) declares, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” God is love and He does not punish us. 1John 4:18(NLT), “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God’s love is perfect, and His love cancels out fear. Heavenly Father doesn’t cause our problems, but He has given us a way to resolve them through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:3(NLT) says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Most of us see this and think to ourselves, “How can anyone rejoice or be joyful about their problems and issues?” Heavenly Father is revealing the importance of patience and endurance in this verse. Patience and endurance

are qualities that are important to God, because they are necessary to grow in Christ and become the person that He wants us to be. He doesn’t want us to have problems or to be tested by the enemy. He wants us to recognize that we can overcome those things by putting on the example of Jesus Christ. This means we must have more of the love of Christ in our hearts. We must increase in more of his example, so we develop more spiritual strength. Philippians 4:13 declares that we can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength, and we must trust this truth and witness it as we walk it out daily in our lives.

Jesus Christ is the King of kings, yet our Heavenly Father chose to send him to the earth with humble beginnings. God is demonstrating what we, as His children of light, should value most. It’s nice to have treasures and opulence, but that stuff is temporary, and if we get caught up in it, we’ll lose sight of why God put us on this earth. We must have compassion, endurance, patience, and spiritual maturity and strength to please God and to live life through His love. This is what our troubles and problems in life teach us. They press us to patiently endure as we keep our eyes on God through Jesus Christ. James 1:12 the Message (MSG) tells us that if we stick it out and trust in God, “For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.”

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

“The Reward is Life and More Life!”, written for Copyright© 2022. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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