Sometimes I want life to be easy. Seriously, I do. I just want it to always be a breeze. Don't get me wrong, I live a blessed life. God has been good to me. But there are those days...well- seasons really- when I really don't want to have to put up a fight (ever feel that way??) and I feel like I've been in a fight for a couple of years now.
This morning, I was reading about a man who got beat up terribly and was left for dead. He was out talking to some people and sharing some information with them that would ultimately help them. However, some people got angry with him about what he was telling the people and they beat him up so badly that they thought he was dead. But he was strengthened, got back up on his feet and left town. But here's the crazy part: the guy went BACK to the place where they had beaten him up so badly. You can read about the events here.
"...we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." Acts 14:22 (NLT)
Paul, the victim of a hate crime, returned to the scene of the crime to encourage the Christians to endure despite the fact that others hated him so much that they tried to kill him. Christianity is not for weaklings. The world will hate us, people will mock and ridicule us, people may even beat us up or try to kill us. The world has no love for Christians, yet we must lovingly share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and be the peacemakers here in this world. Will it be easy? Not always. But by His grace and for His glory, we can endure the persecution, ridicule, mockery and hatred. We must endure through every tribulation because, as Paul said, we must suffer MANY hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. As citizens of this Kingdom, we have to know that we will have hardships. Why? Because God's Kingdom is opposed to this worldly kingdom (it's ways, its ideals, its thoughts, its philosophies, etc.); therefore, we too are going to be at odds with this world as a result of being citizens of His kingdom. There is a war going on between God's Kingdom and the world as such, we too, are at war. But here's what we must be sure of: WE WIN because God has already claimed the victory over Satan (the ruler of this worldly system) more than 2000 years ago at Calvary through His Son Jesus Christ!!! We should rejoice right there!!! Hallelujah!!!! We are victorious in Christ Jesus!!!
We have to be courageous and know that God has a bigger plan even in the midst of our pain for His name's sake. We may suffer many hardships, just as Christ had to suffer, but we are already winners!!! Keep living the Christ-life and keep sharing the gospel.
Stay encouraged and be blessed!