Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Dangerous Will of God

The call of Jesus to follow Him is not a call to a life of ease. Not only is following Jesus not easy it is also not very safe. New Testament Scripture is clear that a person following Jesus will be opposed by Satan and the world. In other words we should expect to face hardships and difficulties as we bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.

This mission is of supreme importance and is worth all the difficulties we might face along the way. Donn Leach in his book What the Bible says about Jesus wrote; "The importance of Jesus' mission in His own eyes is seen in that He did not hesitate to enlist people to suffer and die for it" (pg. 190). Each of the apostles, whom Jesus personally called, faced opposition from the world. These men were beaten, put into prison, and most likely all put to death, with the exception of the Apostle John (who was exiled). Jesus sent His disciples on a mission knowing that He was sending them to their deaths.

This mission is still dangerous. Jesus told us it would be:
18 "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.20 Do you remember what I told you? `A slave is not greater than the master.' Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the One who sent me (John 15:18-21; NLT).
We may not have to fear for our lives because of religious or governmental opposition, but we are still going to be opposed. Satan is not going go quietly and he is going to fight us tooth and nail. When we start making a difference for the Kingdom of God in this world we had better watch out.

I know a youth minister forced out of youth ministry by the elders because he wasn't playing by their rules, even though the youth ministry was making a difference in that community. That youth minister still hasn't returned to ministry because of the wounds he experienced.

I know another man who made a mid-life career change to enter the ministry, and now just as things in his ministry are beginning to take-off he needed to step aside to repair the relationship with his wife.

There are story after story we could tell of people who were making a difference for the Kingdom when they suddenly came under attack. Sickness, death, broken relationships, and financial problems are all ways Satan attacks us in an attempt to keep us from moving forward in our mission. If we are not prepared for these attacks they can cripple us and ultimately prevent us from becoming the people God created us to be.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Hebrews 11. Read what the author of this book writes in verses 35-38:
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,* and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground (NLT).
The life of faith is not supposed to be easy. God has called us to live out a dangerous mission. The most dangerous place for us to be is in the center of God's will, because it is there that we will be most opposed. Is this mission from God worth risking our lives to carry out? Jesus certainly thought it was.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Church should be the most forgiving, inviting and accepting place ever. Not that we overlook or condone sin -- on the contrary, we promote and facilitate spiritual maturity -- but when I hear about churches wounding people like this, it really just saddens me.

Our Identity

{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}   This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people i...