In Philippians 3:10 Paul speaks of sharing the sufferings of Christ. The entire Christian life includes all kinds of struggles. Challenges of faith range from outright physical persecution to verbal attacks, and extend even to the daily temptations of the devil that we have to (sometimes painfully) fight. If you have been a Christian for a few years you know it’s not a cakewalk; and the longer you’re a Christian the less attachment you have to this life and the more allurement there is to be with Jesus in glory. Paul had the desire to depart this life and be with Christ because he knew it was better than anything this life had to offer (Philippians 1:21-23). The longer we live as Christians on earth the more we know that there is too much to gain to lose. So we look forward with real, living hope to that day when we will be set free from the struggles, trials and temptations of this life and rejoice with the Lord in eternal glory. So stay the course pilgrim – you’ve come too far to quit now. Read Hebrews 6:9-12; 11:13-16; 12:1-2 and listen to a heart-warming bluegrass song entitled Too Much to Gain to Lose by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.
Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.