Friday, October 22, 2010

Our Light Affliction?

For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
perilsAs sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The Apostle Paul, who through the inspiration of the Spirit penned most of the New Testament, sums up all his many trials as "light affliction". The only way someone could endure such hardships and persecution and call them light afflictions is if that person's eyes are fixed upon that which is eternal. Church leaders are called to correction within the church, but peruse the internet and read Christian blogs that complain about everything from taxes to Obama. Many present a steady stream of moaning about their circumstances and how the government is taking away their money and freedoms. Your money is God's and if the government can take away your freedom is wasn't worth much to begin with.
How liberating it is to be completely in God's hands and not be worried or even interested in what any government is or isn't doing! Our loving Savior has given to us all things which pertian to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him. We, as followers of the Redeemer, are called to love and pray for those in power, but we must not get pulled into the endless fray which is nothing more than a canal melee. We are children of the Most High God who carry the message of eternal life through the grace of God given through His Son, Jesus.
Think about your trials. Have you been a day and a night in the sea? Have you been stoned? Have you been beaten by 39 lashes five times? And yet we consider ourselves so persecuted and such great cross bearers. Consider this:

A man wins 300 million dollars in the lottery. He and his wife and their two children begin to drive the 200 miles to the capital and collect his winnings. On the way up they stop for some gas and a drink. When the man takes out his wallet, he sees that he only has 9 dollars but he distinctly remembers having ten. Where is that other dollar?
He begins to search inside the car, and even claims someone might have stolen it. "Who went into my wallet?", he yells. They all get back into the car and begin again their trip, but this time the mood has changed. The man is complaing about the lost dollar and he accuses everyone of being complicit. I ask you, if you heard something like that would you actually believe that this man was on his way to collect 300 million dollars?
And even if you knew that was indeed a fact, wouldn't you question that man's sanity?

And so it is with followers of Jesus who have eternal life awaiting them at the end of their journey, but they murmur and complain about earthly things, especially things that inconvenience them and affect their pocketbooks. The world has every right to question our sanity, and even question what we say we believe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Am so in agreement with all these articles here. I thank God elders in the church are seeing the light on the hijacking of the christian church in america, and elsewhere. The masks are coming off those in high-publicized ministries that are dipping their toes in politics.

These are taking on the name of the Lord for profit, to take over governments, sit their chosen King/Queen in power. They're compromising the reputation of Christ's sacrifice and His church for power in high places.

And, their choice of men to hold leadership jobs, and their choice of men/women to speak on behalf of "family values" and moral issues have questionable moral values and are shameful witnesses.

A lying prevailing spirit has swept through and snagged many believers. The love of guns and Jesus don't mix.

Please keep shining the light on this.