Saturday, October 19, 2013

Glorious persecution

There is one thing in this life we can be certain of when we follow Christ: persecution. We are bound to endure judgment, ridicule, mockery, and bullying because we are not of this world. We will face opposition from all sides. Sometimes from the people we expect to love us the most. Other times from complete strangers. Our adversaries will be plentiful. We will feel like outcasts, shunned from the crowd. We will feel like modern day lepers!
The pain of this persecution can cause deep wounds if we allow allow these daggers to penetrate. But there is no reason to allow the slings and arrows of this world to scare us. We do not owe the world an apology. At the end of our road we will not stand in judgment before our peers and society. God alone can judge us. Therefore, plot your actions according to Him, not according to the world.
When this world comes to a close it will not matter what your neighbors thought of you or what society deemed as tolerant, political correct or even "normal." All that will matter is where you stood with God. Did He control your actions while you made your journey through life? Were you playing according to His rule book, looking for His approval? Or were you going along to get along in a world that wants to dismiss Godly living as religious idiocy?
Don't conform to this world. Stand in contrast to this world. Stand for the things of God. He wants you to look different than the rest of the world. When you don't fit in, you can rest assured that you are doing something right.
John 15:19-21 says, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me."
Jesus was certainly not of this world and the world certainly didn't understand Him. They crucified Him - the ultimate persecution. If we are going to be followers of Christ we must expect this same treatment. We must be willing to endure the hardships and cruelty that Christ endured if we are to be sold-out for Him. Don't fall into the trap of being silent for fear that others might judge you. Don't change your positions and beliefs to get along with the rest of the crowd. Align your beliefs and actions solely with the Lord and His scriptures. 
The world is going to judge you. Expect that. Don't be surprised by their rude comments. Don't be surprised by their crooked looks and critical attitudes. This is all to be expected. Just keep your eyes on the heavens and continue to live in a way that is pleasing to God. For you know that you are not living for the world's approval. You are living to bring glory to God.

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