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To Be Reviled!
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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A lot of Christians don’t know what it really costs to be a true Christian. The price is very high in human terms.
What humans want physically, emotionally and materially are not what you get when you become a mature believer and follower of Jesus. While Jesus provides you with solace, comfort in grief, reassurance and hope, human factors (as agents of Satan) come against you to try to destroy your peace. The going is not all easy, by any means.
These are some of your basic desires:
1) You want to be well off materially or financially. You may not want to be rich, but you want enough money to be able to pay your bills on time and without stress or worry.
2) You don’t want to go hungry. You want enough food each day to satisfy and sustain you and others who depend upon you.
3) You want to be happy, to be fulfilled and,
4) to have fun and laughter. That’s natural.
And 5) you want to be accepted by others. You want to be liked, not despised.
All those five human desires are shared by all sane, normal people. It’s human nature to want them fulfilled in your life. But Jesus had some astounding words to say about these issues. He declared that the opposite may come to you as one of His disciples:
Blessed are you poor... (Luke 6:20).
Blessed are you who hunger now... (6:21).
Blessed are you who weep now... (6:21).
Blessed are you when men hate you... (6:22).
You certainly don’t feel very blessed in those situations! And those statements would seem to contradict another promise of Jesus in John’s gospel:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10).
The thing is, as physical humans, we tend to interpret Jesus’ words physically and selfishly, when His greater emphasis and meaning was intended to be spiritual. This is why Jesus went on to elaborate on what He meant in Luke 6:
Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20).
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled [satisfied in God’s realm]. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh (6:21).
Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake (6:22). Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven. For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets (Lk 6:23).
For a true Christian in this evil world, your lot is to be reviled. For upholding pure truth, you will be disliked and even hated. And, ironically, those sentiments can also come from others who would seem to be believers likewise in Jesus.
People don’t like to be told if they are wrong. The old human pride inside rears up against it. Excuses and self-justification throw correction aside. And the bringer of those “evil tidings” is invariably cast out as bad. “He’s a bad influence.” “He’s got an attitude problem.” “He’s a stirrer!” “He’s a false prophet!”
Yes, just like Jesus was.
As one called to walk in His footsteps, your life will be assailed by those five negative results of following Him implicitly. There will be times when you will be short of money; when you may have to go hungry; when grief will be heavy on you; and when others disdain you.
Jesus was listing some of the consequences of following Him and His teachings without deviation. It’s not what the Prosperity Gospel preachers proclaim!
Conversely, however, if you were to follow your natural desires, Jesus warns that woe awaits you in the spirit realm:
Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation [for those who seek riches instead of the kingdom of God]. Woe to you who are full [self-satisfied], for you shall hunger [a spiritual hunger, realising your spiritual deprivation in the spirit realm]. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets (Luke 6:24-26).
MB Heap, June 2016
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