Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Easy to Say, Difficult to Do

Matthew 5:10-12

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. NIV Bible Gateway.com

   God's commands sometimes defy human logic. Take, for example, the command to rejoice in persecution. It doesn't make sense until we realize the effect of praise - it keeps us focused upon the Lord and the good things that He can bring out of hardship.
   The apostle Paul faced greater abuse and suffering than most of us every will. He was beathen, put on trial, and imprisoned, yet he looked beyond those difficulties to what the Lord was accomplishing through his life. That is, though he didn't rejoice that he was a captive, he was able to celebrate the great ministry he had amond his prison guards.
   If we believe God is in control and keeps His promises, then we must trust in the principle of Romans 5:3-5. This passage assures us that our hardships have a purpose. Specifically, they develop our endurance, strengthen our character, and solidify our hope. Two immediate blessings of suffering are the deepening of our faith and the preparation for greater service to the kingdom. We're able to rejoice because we are maturing believers whom God can use for His purposes.
   The Lord will bring good from our persecution, just as He did for Paul. But if we allow doubt to cloud our faith, we won't be able to rejoice in what He is doing in and through our lives. And if we can't rejoice, we are in danger of giving up before God's good work can be completed. Rejoicing keeps us focused upon the Lord and His purpose so that we may see our trial through to the end and receive our reward. 
Stanley, Charles F. "Easy to Say, Difficult to Do." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living August 2016. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 9.  

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