Matthew 10:22 ” You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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.”
Most non-Christians I meet me, “You have it easier than anyone else. You get money and pray. That’s it.”
It is tougher than most people can understand. When you are a follower of Christ you need to follow His footsteps and show His love, and that’s not as simple as it seems. In Luke 6:35 it reads, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. ”
Love your enemies? Wow,I think some of you guys just flinched at the sound of that.
We all need to pray for our enemies and to show them kindness without seeking reward. The enemies that persecute, execute, tease, and beat us must be forgiven? Yes. We must show the same infinite love that God gave to us and to show the same mercy as well.
And the Bible says that, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Not a single person can be reprimanded of the forgiveness of Jesus Christ because He didn’t die for just one, but for all.
That is why it is difficult to be Christian.
We must love and care for even the people with the worst hearts, those who spit in our faces, those who treat us like they treated Jesus on the cross. Christians have to do this all without seeking recompense. Without seeking a reward for all of your deeds, you must give all of what you have away.
If that is the case, how do we protect ourselves from evil and temptation?
What defenses do we have? Well, we have the Armor of God.
In Ephesians 6:13-17: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
With the belt of truth you speak of a message that is never a lie because it is indefeasibly correct.
With the breastplate of righteousness, you will be guarded from the evils the serpent has to throw at you. And with the Gospel of Peace fitted underneath your feet, wherever you travel the good news of Christ will follow too. With the Shield of Faith you will never be beat by sin, but you will overcome it. And with the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, you will be a foe against seemingly unstoppable mischief. Because our God is for us, so who can stop us?
The Rejected Cornerstone.
When Christ came to Earth He was rejected by many. Even the Bible said that the “Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Most Jews believed that Jesus of Nazareth was a hedonistic man with many wives; they didn’t even get the chance to see Him as He was.
We will always find people who will reject us as Christians because of our faith, and many will persecute us or kill us. In some countries it is encouraged. Our faith is by far the most powerful because it has the power to move mountains and save souls. When we find ourselves in trouble, we have a weapon beyond all weapons: Prayer. Prayer is a weapon, an answer for all ills, because all prayers go straight to God. And God never sleeps.
Before Jesus came to this earth, there came a prophecy that told of the key cornerstone and that without it, the building would fall. In Psalms 118:22 it says, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” This world will not function without Him yet we rejected the Creator. Without Him we are nothing yet want to be without Him. Ironic, isn’t it? The rejected stone will be the keystone, and just like Him, so will we be rejected.
Kindness Wins The Heart.
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Teaching people and dictating about God are two different ways of going about spreading the gospel. If you are screaming and hollering about ‘You are going to Hell if you don’t repent!’ all you are doing is yelling at wandering strangers.
Expounding on the law, telling strangers about the grace of Christ, and reflecting a Christ-like attitude in daily life are better: helping someone out inevitably leads to a question: ‘Why are you helping me?’ You tell them that you work for the Lord. Which of these methods is more Biblical?
When preaching you always need to have love for you will never succeed in what you are doing if otherwise.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1 it says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Each of us is an instrument of God, but if we use are talents without love, no one will hear our message. We all must do everything we do with love and kindness in our hearts so people know we care about them, and if we don’t have love, all is in vain.
The ‘Mess’ In The Message
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Each of us have a story about how we found God. Some are long and sad, others are short and funny. But all of our stories point out a time when we needed God in our lives.
God will always test our faith, whether it be a good test or a bad one. He will always make sure that we have something to overcome in our lives, but will make sure to carry most of the burden.
We will always have a mess to deal with, no matter if it’s school, death, family, money, or anything else that brings trouble and hardship. When you juggle these items you will soon be struggling with them–and they will all fall on you.
And when they fall on you, that’s when you realize you should have let God take the burden in the first place. It doesn’t matter about how many struggles you have, it is about what you do to make the moments in between them that count. It doesn’t matter the struggles that you’ve experienced but what you did to overcome them.
All of us had had moments where we have messed up in our lives, moments when we think we have failed God in so many ways that we just can’t live with it anymore.
Just remember what 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This verse says that no matter what you do that God will always forgive you if you confess to Him. Isn’t that amazing? No matter how many times we mess up, God is always there to wipe your path clean so that you may continue to walk in Christ’ perfect footsteps. And with the imperfect mess in our lives we are able to show a Message to people that God can forgive even the worst of people, and that with every test that God gives to us there is a Testimony on how we overcame it and how God will still prevail through it all.
Keep this in mind, when you think of Christians around the world: all of us have Tests (testimonies) and Messes (Messages).