In Mark 8:34, Christ said that people must take up their crosses to follow him. He was referring to the way that soldiers from Rome forced criminals to carry crosses to the place of their death. Christ meant that, in this cruel and evil world, his people would not be able to save their own lives. Instead, they must give their lives to God, and they must be willing even to die for him*.
However, the result of such an action is not death, but real life. Only the person who gives his life to God can live always with him in heaven*. Everyone must die, of course, anyway; nobody can protect his life from every danger*. We can find real safety, and real life, in God alone*. That safety, and that life, is not for the body, but for the spirit. Godís people have a home in heaven*, where the troubles of this world cannot affect them.
Because of his many enemies, Paul was in constant danger of death*. However, the result of that was not death, but life. People saw Paulís weakness, but they saw the power of Christ. Paul loyally spoke about Christ whenever God gave him the opportunity, even in the greatest danger*.
The result was that people in every town were trusting in Christ. They too chose to give their lives to God; they too were receiving from God the real life that never ends. As Paul suffered in danger of death, God was giving new life to people.
Next part: ĎI believed, therefore I spoke.í (4:13)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.