Let Come What May

I am reading this morning in Acts 21. To set the background for what follows, I will share a verse from Acts 19 and one from Acts 20:

“Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, ‘After I have been there, I must also see Rome.’” Ac. 19:21.

“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.” Ac. 20:22-23

Acts 21:10-11 ESV

“While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”’”

We Will Suffer, Too

We as believers in Jesus Christ are not promised that life is going to be easy for us. We are also not promised a life free from suffering, trials, tribulations and persecutions. In fact, we are promised that, as followers of Jesus, that we will suffer like he suffered, and we’ll be hated as he was hated.

We are taught in the Scriptures, in fact, that we are to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, character, hope, steadfastness, maturity, and spiritual blessings. And it will provide opportunities for us to prove our faith genuine and to witness for Christ.

Also, when we suffer and we are comforted by our Lord, then when others suffer, we can comfort them with the same comfort we received in our suffering. And through suffering we also learn not to depend (rely) on ourselves but to depend fully on the Lord.

As well, we are disciplined (reproved, chastised) by the Lord for our good so that we may share in his holiness. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).

[Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet 4:12-13).

Acts 21:12-14 ESV

“When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’”

Well meaning Christians and some not-so-well meaning professers of faith in Jesus Christ are going to tell you that as a believer in Jesus Christ that you will not have to suffer, that you will not face trials and tribulations, and that you will not be persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ.

But that’s just not biblical.

Many of them, in fact, give the impression that a “good Christian” is one who is well-liked and admired in the community, who blends in with the world, who is a good-deed doer, but who does not stand out as different. They give the idea that being a Christian means most people will like you.

So, if you literally follow the Scriptures and you actually live what they teach, and you take God and his Word seriously, and you follow Jesus’ example, and you say and do the kinds of things he said and did, they will not think you a “good Christian” but an oddball who doesn’t fit.

You will be called “crazy,” “out of touch with reality,” “hyper-religious,” “self-righteous,” “intolerant,” “legalistic,” one who hates, and one who teaches “works-based salvation,” so one who teaches lies instead of truth. You will not be well-liked, but most will reject you and ignore or persecute you.

And this is what the Scriptures teach that our lives will be like if we are literally following Jesus Christ and his word, and if we are doing what he says to do, and we are saying the things he said and that his word teaches. If they hated and persecuted Jesus, they will do the same to us.

But we should not fear being persecuted, ostracized, rejected, betrayed, abandoned, falsely accused, and dismissed as looney for following Jesus. We should be ready to suffer for the name of Jesus, and we should surrender ourselves to doing the will of God, let come what may.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

2 thoughts on “Let Come What May

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