"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Share and Share Alike

Most everyone heard those words so often during their childhood that they could have puked. Kids naturally tend toward possessiveness. "Tend?" Right! ... they're possessed with possessiveness. Most rug-rats' first words are "No!" and "Mine!"
        Fortunately for us, God doesn't behave like a little kid. In fact, Romans 8:16-17 tells us just how much God is willing to share: 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.
        Now two words make those verses remarkable: the "ifs" and the "shares." Both words are double-edged swords, holding both a promise and a condition. If God is our Father, he is more to us than the all-powerful, Creator God and Master of the Universe. If he is truly our Father he fulfills every role in our lives that a perfect human father would; he communicates with us, provides for us, nurtures us, disciplines us, strengthens us and shares with us.
        Sharing in his glory sounds pretty good. Who wouldn't want to share a little heavenly glory? But, as for Christ Jesus, heavenly glory doesn't come cheaply. The cost of admission is sharing in his suffering. Of course, that doesn't mean we have to submit to a brutal whipping, have a wreath of huge thorns pounded into our scalp or have our hands and feet pegged to a rough, wooden cross. As excruciating as that was, it wasn't the worst suffering Christ endured for us. Far worse than that was bearing the guilt of our sin and having his Father turn away from him at his time of need. What despair!
        The suffering we have to share with Christ is because of the punishment the world meets out to anyone who refuses to conform to its corrupt standards. No fun! But that's all part of inheriting the glory of truly being his.
        So, share and share alike, but be ready to suffer and suffer alike, because Jesus did, out of his infinite love for us.

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