Many of us may have several of those scenarios. Well, I don’t want you to think I’m glad you had to experience those things, scripture says that we are made stronger by allowing God to take us through the fire. If we, indeed, go through the fire WITH Christ, then the torment we were facing has been burned up and we are free from the fear. If we chose to run from the situation, it is still a torment to us and we are still as weak as we were when faced with the situation.
Our human nature wants to have us run and hide, to avoid any unpleasant situation. Think of I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” Unfortunately for many of us, our reaction is totally opposite of what the life of a believer looks like in this verse. But I believe it is a verse of encouragement that each situation we entrust to God and see the victory, that our faith grows stronger. It is what, I believe, the Apostle Paul meant when he says he was pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, Philippians 3:14.
I’m studying Matthew 10 this morning. It’s not an easy chapter to digest, especially with seeing the unfolding of scripture in our lifetime. Anti-semitism is at an all-time high, even many holocaust victims have turned their backs on Israel! My heart breaks at the loss of lives and the deception that is running rampant in the Middle East. Christians are being killed by the thousands, people are being beheaded and crucified.
Many in the United States, and other parts of the world where this travesty hasn’t personally touched, may be finding it a little hard to relate. But I challenge you to really look at our lives in the US and line it up with scripture and tell me it isn’t in our own country right now.
This isn’t a political column, but let’s look at a few of the scriptures that, I believe, Christ spoke specifically so we would not be ignorant of the signs of the times. I do not use the word “ignorant” derogatorily. Ignorant simply means that we are without knowledge of something. Unfortunately, for believers, that knowledge is given in scripture and also through the Holy Spirit that lives in us, so a plea of ignorance is a deception that we have allowed in our belief system.
In Matthew 10:25 Jesus is telling the disciples they are to become as their teacher, not greater than, but as He is. But then He also reminds them that the Pharisees accused Him of doing miracles by the power of demons, so don’t be surprised that any who are His disciples will also be looked on with the same hatred. But He reassures them in verse 26: “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
Before you sign a breath of relief, continue reading and He continues to tell the disciples that He will speak to them in the darkness and they are to speak it in the daylight, actually shout it from the rooftops! And then He compares the value of our lives to two sparrows, saying that one doesn’t fall without the knowledge of God. Praise the Lord! Did you really catch it? Our death will not be by accident, but at the knowledge of the Lord. If not, continue reading. He continues with the beginning of the unfolding of the end. Even our own family members will turn us into the authorities to save their life. The sad part is, what life are they saving? To live in bondage to satan? To live in fear of death every moment? All for food and a bed?
I have to admit, I am not a “brave” person. I realize that I am not perfected in love as I John explains to us. But I am so glad that the Lord tells us that it will be His strength that will keep us standing to the end (of the days He has ordained for us), not the days we think we should live, and that if we remain faithful to Him to carry His cross during these days, He will confess (testify) of our faithfulness to God the Father. Can you imagine Jesus standing before His Father telling Him of your obedience, your faithfulness, your love, your proclaiming of His love to the lost and the hurting?
This is when we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It won’t be because we said a prayer, got baptised and went to church but never developed a relationship with Jesus Christ, never shared His love with someone, but continued to live exactly as we had prior to our “rebirth”. Was there really a rebirth? I challenge you today, dear one. Time is drawing near, the terror is at our doorstep, if you were to die tomorrow, will Jesus confess your faithfulness or deny your faith before the Father? It is a serious question, one that each of us needs to ask and allow Him to search our hearts for a true answer. Remember, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. His conviction is out of love and if we are His, we will receive His admonishment and turn from the wickedness of our hearts and be restored and renewed by His word. I’m not referring to works, but true love of the Father that we would give our everything to defend His name and not walk in deception.
Lord God Almighty, thank You that You loved us so much You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to speak truth into our lives, be a “firstborn” to show us how to walk on the narrow path, and how to face persecution for Your namesake. I thank You also that You remind us in Your word that “we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us”. Without you, we stand on our own wisdom and You also revealed that You choose the foolish things of this world to confound the “wise”. Thank You for not expecting me to know how to do life on my own, but to walk alongside of me each and every step. You are my everything. I love You so much that I don’t have the words to express, and yet, that is so little compared to Your amazing love for me. Glory, blessing, honor and power belong to the Lord our God! Amen.