Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 31 July 20:
Luke 10:3 — “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”
God knows He is leading you into persecution in order to use you to communicate the Gospel to sinful people who are naturally hurtful in their sinfulness. Consider how many times in the Bible God sent someone to deliver a message to people the messenger didn’t want to encounter or to people who didn’t want to hear the message. Are you willing to be hurt by the people God wants you to reach in order to be a faithful ambassador for Christ? Are you willing to fulfill the Great Commandment by sharing the Gospel even with your enemies? (Luke 6:27) Are you willing to show unloving people the love of Christ, regardless of how they treat you so nothing would stand in the way of the Gospel? Are you willing to suffer and say, “Forgive them Father; they know not what they do,” in the earnest hope that those who need Jesus the most would receive Him as their Lord and Savior? Denying self, taking up your cross daily, and following Jesus is not easy; in fact, it is impossible apart from the power of God within you.
When you think about persecution for your faith, you might be inclined to imagine a big martyr moment, standing before government officials, being thrown into prison, etc. However, more important are the small, daily encounters with regular people who will mistreat you in typical ways. These are our opportunities to take up our cross and follow the example Jesus gave us. When you respond to unloving people with shocking love, you glorify God and open a door for sharing the Gospel. (See Philippians 2:1-11) With the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19), we have been given a ministry of suffering in love for His name’s sake. Be a faithful ambassador and minister.
– 2 Timothy 3:12 — Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted….
– 1 Peter 2:19-21 — For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
– Matthew 10:38 — And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
– 1 Peter 4:12-16 — Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
– Matthew 5:10-12 — Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
– 2 Timothy 1:8-14 — Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
– Acts 5:41 — Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
– Romans 5:3 — Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance….
– 2 Corinthians 12:10 — For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 July 20: Love those who are hard to love, and share the Gospel with those who need to hear it even though it might be difficult.