A Transforming Crucible
Verse for Today: Monday, September 19, 2011
2 Corinthians 4: 8 & 9 – We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
The cost of following Jesus Christ in this world is quite high. Our faith makes us the enemy of the powers of darkness. The world becomes our foe and every system that controls this world will oppose us. There will be physical, psychological and social pressure of various kinds on us. The great servants of God who became martyrs were intimidated in all these ways and were brought to the brink. They were misrepresented, misinterpreted and falsely accused of horrible offences. There were those who went back because the cost of becoming a disciple was too high, but at least a minority was willing to stick their necks to the guillotines of this cruel world. They proved with their lives that the enemy can only suppress and oppress our bodies and emotions, but cannot touch our spirits. They could not stop the mouths of these disciples from proclaiming the truth. These disciples were willing to go through the crucible of suffering. They could not stop living for the Lord and suffer for Him who suffered for them. They knew that in spite of all the pressures and persecutions, their passion could not be crushed and their commitment shattered by these oppressors. Apostle Paul was one such disciple of Jesus who knew this truth very well. He never kept his mouth shut and stopped preaching. When they locked him up in a dungeon, he started writing. His epistles are read by people in about 2,000 languages in the world today. His writings are researched and studied by millions of devotees of Jesus throughout the last 20 centuries and billions of sermons have come out of his epistles. Yes, the oppressors can put pressure and pain in us, but they cannot stop the power of gospel demonstrated through the lives in which Jesus lives on.
Dear reader, are you suffering for the sake of the gospel that you preach and live day by day in this world which belongs to the enemy of the gospel of Jesus? Do you suffer in the hands of the governments, religions, philosophies, political movements, social activists, fundamentalists and fanatics? Are you oppressed because of your stand for Jesus? Are you denied justice in schools where you study, places of work, neighbourhoods, business world and even among your kith and kin? Have you become an outcast? No matter who opposes us and what they try to do against us, ultimately we are on the victor’s side. Our victory in Jesus is already written in Heaven and no force on earth can alter it. They will oppress us and put maximum pressure on us. They might deny justice to us and discriminate against us. We might become a prey to prejudice, bias, favouritism and hate crimes of different types. But they cannot touch our souls. When they persecute us, our Lord will fill our hearts with the peace that passes all understanding and give us security and stability. We need not be drawn into frustration because we know that our destiny has already been determined and secure in the hands of our Lord. If the world abandons us, our Lord will draw us closer to Him and hold us in His hands even when we have to go through the dark valleys of life. He will be our shield when we are under direct attack. When they drain us off our physical strength, we will be filled with heavenly strength from His Spirit to make us bold and unshaken to stand strong for the Lord. When we are shut in by the world, the Lord will open the vistas of Heaven to give us glorious visions about Him and fill us with hope for all that He has in store for us in our heavenly home. So we can be bold like Paul and say that in spite of all that the enemy will attempt, our victory is already confirmed by the Lord. This truth ought to make us go forward without getting perplexed in the battle with the world and live as true disciples of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – Therefore we do not loose heart. Though outwardly we are wasted away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Thought for Today
Our warfare with the enemies of gospel starts from victory when our enemies fight a loosing battle with us.
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