In high school I played football. I was considered an athlete, I played by the rules, and I understood what it meant to be a senior, a captain, and the starting quarterback. I was a true jock with one thing on my mind: winning. If you have ever played football or heard a guy talk about the sport you may have heard him say, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”. Or maybe, if you watch any football game, you see both teams holding up the number four to represent the fourth quarter. Why don’t they hold up one, two, or three fingers?
Because those quarters don’t matter. So many games have been won in the fourth quarter. Teams so far down that it seemed impossible for them to win, but they did it because they knew, it’s not how you start but how you finish. I truly believe great teams, championship teams, win games off the field. Both in the mental and physical realms and in the summer. How much are they willing to sacrifice, to push, and to face adversity when no one is looking. The teams that do this, have no trouble finishing the fourth quarter.
When athletes are holding up that championship trophy, at that moment I can guarantee, their thoughts are not on how much time they spent in the weight room or how many hours they watched film, or even how tired and sore their bodies are. I would venture to say they are focused on the win, their coaches and teammates, the crowd cheering for them, and the glory they worked so hard for. The great thing that Paul says in that verse is “….the glory which shall be revealed in us.” That glory in us is Jesus.
Henry Morris says, “God has put this glory into the believer right now. In heaven, the glory will simply be revealed. “The glory will be revealed, not created. The implication is that it is already existent, but not apparent.” Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while… you don’t do things right once in a while… you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing.”
I love this quote, but what if we changed it to sound like this?
“Jesus is not a sometime thing; He’s an all-the-time thing. You don’t serve Jesus once in a while… you serve Jesus all the time. Jesus is a habit. Unfortunately so is suffering.”
We have to choose Jesus. We have to understand that He is the greatest gift of all time. We have to believe that He is coming back to save us all. We must do our best to realize that we can not compare today’s sufferings to the glory that is waiting to be revealed to us.
How do we get this glory revealed to us but through our savior Jesus Christ!
As Pastor Josh said, we need to get to “The Secret Place”.
What are you doing when no one is looking? How are you preparing for the coming season? When you are faced with trouble, what is your response? Paul was not ignorant or blind to the sufferings of human existence; he experienced more of them than most any of us today. Yet he still considered that the future glory far outweighed the present sufferings. God warned us that we would see trouble.
John 16:33 (NLT), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Paul understood that here, on earth, in the present we would have trouble but he saw something that not everyone saw. Paul says in Romans 8:31, a verse everyone should know, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NLT)
“Most all men say or think that God is for them – terrorists commit horrible crimes thinking that God is for them. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit guards this statement with an “if,” so we may know that just because a man thinks God is with him does not make it so. God is only “for us” if we are reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus that we have this undoubting faith that God is for us.” - David Guzik
What more proof do you need than knowing that God is for us that He gave us the greatest gift, His only son, Jesus!
Paul ends chapter eight with some confidence.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT) “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God will always love you. I don’t know where you find yourself today when dealing with that statement but I hope you have read this feeling encouraged today. It’s never too late to start serving Jesus. Find your Secret Place today, get alone with God, open up His Word, and know that the glory is in Jesus!