Monday, July 20th, 2015
All Things (Part 3)
He says, 'At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the Day of salvation I helped you.'
Behold, now is 'The acceptable time,' behold, now is 'The Day of salvation' -- giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the Word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6:2-10 (NASB)
I'm facing a challenge with some of my American church brethren. It came to a head following a recent Supreme Court decision. Judging by Christian news sources, many believers are offended. They're amazed at the world's approval of what God's Word says is a sin.
They also groan about the potential loss of future liberties. Then I consider Jesus, Paul and the other early disciples. Or Christians now in Iraq, Syria or hostile Muslim nations. Their torturous challenges make our irritations look juvenile.
'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; We mourned to you, and you did not lament' (Matthew 11:17).* God did not create our struggles, but He allows them for a purpose.** So here's my challenge:
Why do we think our lives should be easier than Jesus predicted? Compared to others, do we really have anything to gripe about? Even if we do, does griping example the Character of Christ? Was condemnation the calling card Jesus asked us to distribute?
So what if our government makes a ruling many Christians don't like? Shouldn't ambassadors for Christ respect the laws in foreign cultures? Because the United States of America is not our true home. Our job here is a temporary assignment to carry Good News.
If Jesus submitted willingly and Paul submitted joyfully, if each trusted in God to make all things right and judge all things fairly, should we do less?
And in the process of their submission, when love seemed an impossible response, when the world's eyes were drawn to their stories, like ours were to the Charleston Massacre, countless people witnessed God in action.***
Actors, models and talent for Christ: In all things, love is our greatest show.
To Be Continued...
* Bible commentaries on Matthew 11:17, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/11-17.htm, including this one: 'Christ proceeds to reprove the inconsistency and fickleness of that age of people. He says they were like children -- nothing pleased them' (Barnes' Notes on the Bible).
** Short article: Did God Create Evil? http://www.gotquestions.org/did-God-create-evil.html
** Additional short article: Did God Create Evil? http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/evil.html
** One more short article: Didn't God Create Evil, Too? http://www.comereason.org/did-god-create-evil.asp
*** Report on the surviving family member's surprising reactions following the Charleston Massacre: http://www.christianpost.com/news/repent-give-your-life-to-christ-relatives-of-charleston-church-massacre-victims-forgive-dylann-roof-at-bond-hearing-140633/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the All Things series.