Feb 142013
 

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.

Later Days!!!

  2 Responses to “Consider it pure joy…”

  1. Don’t you love it when God pops something into your head? You know you’d better pay attention. And it’s not just that whatever He told you is important – it’s that He cares enough about you to talk to you personally.
    Before we talk about being persecuted for our faith, we need to take a good look in the mirror and be sure that it’s really for our faith – or could it be because we’re arrogant, offensive Pharisees? I’ve known Christians who go looking for persecution that way. Do we relate to others with the same love and care that Jesus has for them? Or do we approach them with disrespect for who they are? Maybe we’re getting labeled as bigots and fools because we deserve it.
    Too many people who call themselves Christians are really just Americans. The church in our country is so watered down that we fit right in with secular society, hardly causing any discomfort to the unsaved around us, no threat at all to Satan’s kingdom. Maybe that’s why we feel like our country is marching away from God, because our churches are abandoning God in favor of a generally accepted social doctrine with a sprinkling of religiosity. No power. No glory. No waves.
    Today begins the season of Lent for our more conservative brothers and sisters. A time of spiritual self-examination, repentance, and preparation for the joy of Easter. A good time to consider what it really means to be a Christian.

  2. You bring up some very good points. Antagonistic evangelism will certainly get you the persecution you desire, although perhaps not the reward after it. Still, I challenge you to speak out against homosexuality, abortion, or even premarital sex in an even and non-antagonistic manner. At the very least, you will be marginalized for irrelevant and out of date beliefs (more likely with the intellectual educated crowd). More likely with the less educated more emotionally driven crowd, you will be lambasted, quite probably using out of context Scripture, and labeled a bigot or accused of spreading hatred (and thus, of course, betraying the very faith that you espouse). I am considering celebrating (observing?) Lent this year. I just have no idea exactly how to do it. Also, although I may attend a Pentacostal Church at present, I AM one of your more conservative brothers…er…son…um…yeah. You know what I mean.

    Love ya, Ma!

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