NOTE: This devotional is dedicated to my friend Sharron Angle
How do you respond when someone goes negative? When people begin telling lies about you, what is your response? How would you react if you got information that people were willing to do anything, including bribes, to get others to say bad things about you?
My warrior instincts tell me to fight back. Jesus says we are to turn the other cheek and our Lord is not advocating pacifism (to the shock of some Christians). He was teaching us to overlook an insult. Easier said than done, right?
“But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matthew 5:39)
Again, Jesus is not teaching us to be a doormat, but a slap on the cheek was considered an insult and we are to overlook insults.
But Bro Dave you don’t know how mean people are being to me!
Hey, I just said my warrior spirit tells me to fight back. I’m just sharing what God’s Word says; I didn’t say I necessarily liked it. In fact one way people knew I was saved was how differently I respond to situations. Before my conversion you say something unkind to me and it was on.
But Jesus taught me to draw on the Heavenly Father for strength; that is what He did and that’s what David did:
“O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me…” (Psalm 7:1)
I don’t know where I first heard this but I’ve heard it many times before; if the devil ain’t attacking you then you aren’t in the fight. My boss, an Army guy like me, puts it best: “When you start working for the Lord it’s like calling artillery in on your position. The devil is going to take notice.”
Jesus said we are blessed when these things happen to us:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
My friend Sharron is beginning to be attacked because she is becoming the front runner in the Senate race in Nevada. Sharron is tough, a godly woman with a strong, godly husband, but I think we can all use some encouragement now and then. I know when I get attacked that I have to turn to the Bible to see how God’s people in the past handled persecution and I always love to read David’s words:
“But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies’ sake. Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You; let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” (Psalm 31:14-18)
The Apostle Paul knew persecution greater than any man outside of Jesus. The little church in Thessalonica was facing persecution and Paul wrote this letter of encouragement to them and to exhort them to remain steadfast:
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.”
(2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)
When I shared Sharron’s latest email to me with my friend Mark Levin, he had some sage advice for her: “Sharron should just keep up what she’s doing.”
That’s good advice for us who are contending for the faith. Keep up what you’re doing, whether you’re running for public office, teaching school children, serving food to customers, working as a bank teller, waiting on patients at the doctor’s office, pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, whatever your station in life, if you are doing it for Jesus, you will face persecution.
I want to leave you with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This quote sums up what we as Disciples of Christ must expect:
…The world will be offended at them and so the disciples will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Not recognition, but rejection, is the reward they get from the world for their message and works….
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers
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