Thursday, November 09, 2006

I finished a book recently on a martyr from four or five years ago who died at the hands of unbelievers attempting to make a statement. Her story, like most, was remarkable. It moved me and once again caused me to look at my life to see if the kind of obedience the Lord calls us to, is found present there.

Yesterday, I was reading the newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs, and saw a 14 year old young man who loved Jesus was beheaded, while the radical Muslims who took his life screamed "Allah Akbar!" (God is Great).

The faith of these who have given their lives is marked by suffering. Their reward is sure. Their lives cry out for obedience from the balance of the body of believers. Are we currently lulled to sleep by the soft whir of busy lives, or are we in fact learning to live as they lived.

This past weekend, one of my "daughters," walked up to me as she often does, and said, "Daddy, teach me something." I have grown to expect this from her. She did it all summer long, and continues to do so electronically. However, am I in the Word enough to be ready for her?

The Lord has been showing me much about suffering. That word that none of us like, but all experience in one way or another. We are prone to comparing our sufferings with others. I am not sure why...perhaps because of the competitive society we live in. Regardless, if we are obedient to our Savior, we will suffer.

1Peter 2:19 & 21 says, "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God...To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."

We tend to ignore passages like this because of what it implies. In Jesus day, he suffered the most inhumane and humiliating death available at that time. We like to believe we are more "civilized" now, and won't need to experience such things. If that is our posture, we are "asleep in the Light."

The two stories above reflect the climate of our world. Christians are dying everyday for the cause of Christ. They have learned that obedience to Him is more important than the comforts found in the world. Radical obedience will bring about suffering, but you know what? So will lives not lived for Him.

In this world we will suffer. It is fact. Are you trying to coordinate your life in such a way that you minimize this, or are you seeking Him at all costs, and disregarding what follows?

If we are disobedient to Him, we will suffer by our own hands. Our suffering at that point reflects no glory to our Savior. It just reveals the foolishness in our lives. On the other hand, if we suffer for the cause of Christ, if in our day to day lives we are seeking Him and putting Him first, then the suffering that comes will reflect glory back to God because of His presence in our lives. Because He will be with us, in our suffering.

What others see will be Jesus, not us. If I attempt to point that out during my suffering, I am glorifying self. Jesus does not need my help to shine glory on Him. He needs my obedience. When I am obedient, I suffer. When I suffer, I bring glory to God. When I bring glory to God, He takes pleasure in my life. If I set out to suffer, I miss the point.

Those who follow Christ in radical obedience, are willing to "seek God's glory at the expense of their own pain, their own death." (Lauren Higgins)

"I wanna die like that." (LH)

I don't set out to die physical death. I set out to die to self, that I might become less, that He might become more. As this occurs, when I suffer, I will, by His strength, and by His presence "follow in His steps."


dad

2 Comments:

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent,
Your blog today is definitely a tough subject. Most of us in this country know next to nothing about suffering for Christ. My own experience with it is hardly even on the scale,(there I go comparing myself to others) being limited to social rejection. I know I can't be surprised when the world shuns me because I don't pursue the same course as they do. It grieves me though at the loss of opportunity to show Christ's love. I finished reading John Piper's poem about Job a few weeks ago. "Job's Misery, God's Mercy." Thought provoking to say the least. His was a different sort of suffering but as Elisabeth Elliot says, suffering is suffering. Thanks for the reminder of those out there who are giving their lives for Christ on a daily basis. We need to be lifting up the persecuted church. I'm so guilty of forgetting them. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
It was great to see all of you this past weekend. Let's do it again next month!!

In Christ,
Barbara in NV

 
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