This post is a bit beyond my typical twitter tweet thought byte.
I may be the only one, but it feels like it’s getting more difficult to be a Christian in America lately. I suppose it’s not too bad if you just keep your mouth shut and go to church on Sunday. But if you’re vocal at all, you will catch all sorts of flack. Anyways, over the last couple of days, it really started to get to me. I was in a pretty bad mood all day yesterday. Not angry and mean, but just less than happy and tired.
Well, this morning as I was getting ready to leave my house, Jesus spoke to me. It wasn’t some mystical event or anything, but it was clearly from him. I wasn’t thinking anything particularly religious or “God-centered”. In fact, I think that I was wondering if the coffee was done brewing. Suddenly, a verse popped into my head. Actually it was two verses mushed into one. It was, “Consider it pure joy when you are persecuted for my names sake”. Now those of you who are Bible scholars will immediately notice that this is actually the first part of James 1:2 and the last part of Matthew 5:11. James talks about facing trials for the purpose of strengthening our faith. Matthew talks about being blessed when we face persecution because of Jesus.
Now I may be the only one, but I certainly feel like I catch a lot of flak for my Christian views. I get to read posts on Facebook and other sites that label Christians as bigots and fools, and accuse Christians of spreading hatred. I have to constantly bite my tongue and refrain from engaging in meaningless online arguments (don’t cast your pearls before swine) when I see posts insulting and attacking God. And, finally, the country I live in is irrefutably marching away from Christianity. If, as a Christian, you dwell on these things it can really get to you. I don’t want to sound cliché by simply parroting verses that apply to the situation. A person is having a rough time and we instantly say, “God will never give you more than you can bear”, and walk away. Nice. That really helps. Similarly, just quoting James and Matthew doesn’t really help. But, today, for me, it really came from Jesus. Just out of the blue this popped into my head. It was pretty amazing really. It was amazing enough that I really wanted to share it. Maybe this will be cliché for you, or maybe it will help you. I don’t know. Today, it helped me.
So, to my Christian friends who are feeling similar to how I do, take heart. Jesus promised that this would happen, and it will be credited to us at the end. Stay strong, finish the race well. It certainly isn’t easy, but with God supporting us, it can be done.