~ True Christians Don’t Have Bad Events ~
People Think ~ If a Christian lives a good life God will spare them from bad things occurring in their lives.
God Answers ~ Paul was arguably the best example of a New Testament saint. He not only had a “thorn in the flesh” throughout his life on earth but was constantly in difficult situations. Here is his own account:
“I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-31).
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He [Jesus Christ] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
The Significance ~ Some Bible teachers believe that if a Christian lives a Godly life God will materially bless them all the time. As seen from the Apostle Paul’s life this is clearly a doctrinal error. Jesus Christ taught the opposite:
“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22a). “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14).
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Comment ~ Keep your eye on the end result! “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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