2006-09-21 - Odd Blessings
Matt 5:11-12 "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12 "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NASB)
I'm going to be very honest with you. I don't like to be insulted, persecuted or lied about whether it is for the cause of Christ or not. I try very hard to do things right. I don't always succeed. That's not a big surprise. I can work with failure. A few have been pretty hard to look in the face. But without doing that, it is very difficult to learn from that mistake, failure or sin. If I sin and I take insults, I deserve that. That's on me to ask for forgiveness and get up again. I can learn from that, and I should. But that is not what we are talking about here.
For the cause of Jesus Christ, for praying, or offering to pray for someone, or reading the Bible, or helping someone who is not popular, or taking a position that is not popular with the culture, it is easier to take the barbs - a little. I still don't like it much. But there is a silver lining.
If I'm not causing a problem for the enemy of our souls, he can leave me alone. If I'm sitting in a corner doing nothing, I am not impeding his plan of action. But when an individual or group is making progress for the Kingdom of God, that person or group becomes a target. They are a target because they are doing damage to the plans of the enemy by promoting the gospel, the good news, of Jesus Christ to this world.
If you don't want any trouble, toss your Bible on the shelf and stop praying. I can't promise you rose peddles in your path. There are other sources of problems. One source will be removed though. I would much rather recommend that you read your Bible and pray more. I cheated and read the end of the book. We win.
So why on earth should we be happy when we're being insulted, etc. for Jesus' sake? Because we are walking the walk and living the life. This life we live as Christians is called the narrow road or the narrow way depending on your translation. There is a wide, smooth road that is easy to travel. We are warned that the smooth, easy road leads to destruction. The narrow road is narrow and rough because so few travel it. The road is not easy, there are things to be happy about along the way. We learn forgiveness, humility and gratitude and deep friendship along the way to understanding the sacrifice that Jesus made for us in coming to this world to die on a cross for each of us.
If you are suffering the slings and arrows of this world pitted against you because you are a Christian, there is a reason to rejoice. This world system and the enemy has seen you as a problem and a threat because of the life that you live. Your destination is closer every day.
We ask for your prayers. Keep walking.