Called To Suffer
"Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Timothy 3:12
What a strong statement of fact is given in the above verse! As Christians, we generally opt out of all situations that even remotely look like it could bring us suffering.
Although we have the blessing of God upon our lives as believers, we are called to suffer for Christ. Just let that sink in for a moment. It has taken me some years to wrap my brain around that fact. Let's take a look at some popular Bible characters that experienced suffering while trying to live obedient lives for God.
Naboth in 1 kings 21:1-16
He had a vineyard that apparently, was in a choice spot and King Ahab wanted it. It didn't matter that it was an inheritance given to Naboth, Ahab wanted it for his own. When Naboth refused, King Ahab told his wife, Jezebel, about it and she worked an evil plan that ended up in the demise of Naboth. The thing is this, God allowed this innocent man to lose his life while doing what was right.
Abel in Genesis 4
He is the brother of Cain, whose parents were Adam and Eve. Cain was angry because God accepted Abel's offering above his and he went out and killed his brother. Again, another innocent person loses their life for doing the right thing.
Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-50
Joseph's brothers were jealous of him because he was honored by their father in a way that made him special in his eyes. They decided to get rid of him and that they did. They hatched a plan that ended up separating Joseph from his entire family for many years. Joseph's life took a bunch of twists and turns as a result, and he ended up in some very dangerous situations that were all beyond his control.
David in 1 Samuel 18
After David kills Goliath and the women sing his praises, King Saul becomes disturbed with jealousy and now resents David. Long story short, Saul seeks the life of David on different occasions driving him away from even his best friend Jonathan.
Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:14
Paul states clearly that a certain person, as he names him, Alexander the coppersmith, has done a lot of evil against him.
Gideon in Judges 6:5
God has chosen Gideon to be a judge in Israel during a very difficult time, a time when they were under God's judgement for their disobedience. They cried out to God for help from their enemies, the Midianites, and God raised up Gideon as an answer to their prayers. Israel's full deliverance meant that there would be a battle that had to take place. Their enemies were not going to leave them alone that easily. In Judges 7, Gideon goes to war with 100 men.
Mordecai in Esther 5:9-14
Haman hated Mordecai because he refused to bow to him when he saw him. Haman erects gallows to hang Mordecai on and he intended to end Mordecai's life because he was a Jew who disrespected him.
Jesus in the New Testament
Jesus suffered so many things that led up to His death, the death of the cross.
These individuals endured sufferings of various sorts and remained steadfast and faithful to God despite how hard things got for them. They placed their unwavering faith and trust in the promises of God. They did what was right regardless of the backlash and the attacks. Let me just say that-that is not easy to do. It's difficult even for the best of Christians. Rejection, ostracizing, scorn, lies, vicious attacks and humiliation is not a welcomed thing for any of us.
We are told in the Word of God to expect to suffer, to prepare for it and to endure it. It comes with the territory of being a Christian, especially if you want to honor and obey God.
God gives us the grace (ability and tolerance) to suffer for Him. Some suffering looks like the list above, while others may or could result in the loss of life, job, home, or reputation. No matter how we look at it-it will not be easy. Yet, we are not to shrink from it should we be faced with some form of suffering.
Evil men are getting worse and worse, and we are living in a time where Christians in the United States of America could find themselves under great suffering as we await the Lord's return for us. Ask yourself, "Where am I at on the subject of suffering for Christ?"
"Wicked people want to hurt people. They are digging a deep hole for people to fall into. But they fall into the hole themselves!" (Psalms 7:15 Easy)
Revenge may seem sweet, but the aftermath is dangerous. It's never advised that we try to 'get back' at someone for something they did to us. There are always consequences for evil acts of retaliation.
What a person fails to realize is that they are digging a pit for themselves. It's been said that when you dig a pit for someone else, dig another for yourself.
In the book of Esther, we see the outcome of Haman who hated Mordecai because he refuses to bow down to him. Haman in his wrath went home and told his family and he built a Gallo to hang Mordecai on. His plot failed. God says, what a man sows he will reap (Galatians 6:7). When Esther tells the matter to the king and who it was that put it in motion, the king had that man, Haman, hung on the very Gallos he built for Mordecai.
When Daniel's accusers caused him to be thrown into a den of lions because he was found praying and didn't honor the king's decree, which was set in place with evil intent, their plan also failed. God quieted those lions by squelching their hunger and they left Daniel alone. What were the consequences for such an evil act? Daniel's accusers along with their wives and children were thrown to the very same lions and were mauled and eaten before they hit the ground.
In situations where someone does you wrong, or any evil act, leave them to God. It's only a matter of time and they will experience the same thing happening to them. Charles Stanley said, "we reap what we sow, more than we've sown and for longer than we've sown it." That is scary!
Ultimately, revenge is not sweet after all. It comes with a price tag that most are not willing to pay.