Monday, July 8, 2013

Thick Skin Through Perseverence: Going Crazy is Not Allowed



Q. We have yet to find anyone who shares our strong convictions and beliefs. We, by no means, claim to be perfect. But we do believe in trying in every area of life to honor God. My question is: how do you handle it? When people say ugly things like, "You’re crazy because you take God’s Word too seriously", how do you not go crazy? - A.M.


A. Well, the first thing you need to decide is if you WILL you follow Christ no matter what! My guess is that your answer will be YES. Great! So what now?
MEMORIZE 1 Timothy 3:12-17! One section says that EVERYONE who wants to live a GODLY life in Christ Jesus WILL BE PERSECUTED. 

It’s a given. 

No way around it...IF you take the narrow road. 

Later on in that passage he instructs us to CONTINUE on in what you have KNOWN to be TRUE. Persevere. Keep in mind that Jesus, though He could have exited the scene at any point in time, CHOSE to continue on, persevering, even while experiencing hatred. Why did He do that? Because of His great love for US. We should, in turn, sacrifice our comforts here on earth to demonstrate our love for Him!
Learn to REJOICE in your persecutions and sufferings.“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 and Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 We are to consider it JOY to be persecuted and to face trials. Why? Because it PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE in the faith and demonstrates our dedication to Christ!
Now, will it ever be easy for our “flesh” to accept that we will face persecution and ridicule from the world, and yes, even fellow Christians? 

NO. 

It never gets easy

BUT, it does get easier.
Teach yourself to have godly (not critical and judgmental) compassion on those who do not see that the road they are on leads to sorrow and misery. Teach your children to have compassion on those who are not spiritually mature or are lost (when age appropriate...so they don’t go around voicing that in public :))! Teach your children to count the comments, the stares, the hateful words and rejoice in them. My kids love to report how many looks, counts, glares we get at the end of an errand. They are learning to REJOICE in being ridiculed.
We are to expect that same hatred because we are Christ followers.If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18) But in the midst of being hated and rejected and ridiculed, REJOICE! Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:12) This is part of our refining fire! It’s what will build that thick skin, as we focus on the end goal....a crown to place at the feet of our Savior. So what are these crowns that we are working toward?

The 5 Crowns
  • Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8 To all who have kept the faith and longed for His return)
  • Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19 To all who have helped bring others to Christ)
  • Crown of Life (James 1:12 TO all who endure temptation and are faithful through TRIALS and to those that love Him)
  • Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:1-4 To all that serve and shepherd God’s people
  • The Imperishable or Eternal Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25 To those who have had self-control in all things and subdued the old sinful nature)
So...
ACCEPT the persecution!
REJOICE in trials!
EXPERIENCE perseverance!
HAVE compassion!
EARN those crowns!
I pray this encouraged you! Remember that you are not alone in your suffering, though you might feel alone on your road you are traveling now. Scripture really ministers to me when I experience similar criticisms. Have you considered using Facebook as a way of connecting with like-minded families? It can be sure an encouragement to turn to people that you know support you on tough days!


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