Who Rises up for Me?

Psalms 94:16-19 ESV

“Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.”

Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake

Some people have a difficult time accepting that if we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and we walk in obedience to his commands, that we will be hated, mistreated, despised, rejected, mocked, taunted, and persecuted and even killed for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of righteousness.

But Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me” (John 15:18-21 ESV).

Jesus wasn’t lying, and he wasn’t just speaking to those who were alive and in person with him when he lived on this earth. These words were spoken for all who follow Jesus Christ with our lives. And the evidence is there to prove that Jesus’ words are true, for Christians have been hated and persecuted for their faith ever since Jesus died and rose from the dead.

It is just in America (and perhaps in other countries, too) where Christians are being taught a soft gospel which gives them the impression that they won’t have to suffer, and where many are not being taught that faith in Jesus Christ means death to our old lives of sin and us walking now in obedience to our Lord and no longer according to the flesh.

And so, the church has generally not been under persecution, for so much of the church has not come out of the world, and so the world does love them as its own, and that is why they are not being persecuted.

His Consolations Cheer my Soul

But if we surrender our lives to Jesus, and we walk in obedience to his commands, and we go where he sends us and we do what he says, we will be despised and rejected like Jesus was, perhaps not by everyone, or perhaps not everyone will express it, but it will happen. But we should have encouragers, too, but not always. Sometimes we have none.

Sometimes the Lord is our only support. He is the only one who will rise up for us against the wicked, and he’s the only one who will stand up for us against evildoers. All others may desert us like they deserted Jesus, and like Paul was deserted at times, too. And sometimes it is those who are supposed to love and protect us who are the ones coming against us.

But the Lord is our help and support. It doesn’t mean we won’t have to suffer, though. Suffering is part of the Christian life. But the Lord will strengthen us and help us so that we can stand up under unjust suffering and not be taken out by it, but so we can rise above it.

This doesn’t mean that we have a victim mentality. A victim mentality gives in to the unjust treatment and self-pities, and thus lets the unjust treatment alter what one does and how one lives. Not so with the righteous who are looking to the Lord for their support. They rise above the injustices, and they continue strong in their walks of faith despite the persecution.

Not only does the Lord strengthen us and help us to be overcomers and to not cave to persecutions, but he consoles us in ways which cheer our souls. No, he doesn’t supply a bunch of jokes for us to read so we can laugh ourselves silly, but he fills our hearts with a joy the world cannot know.

All the time he speaks to us through his written word. And sometimes there might be something in nature that will cheer us and help us to remember the sovereignty of God over all things. Or it might be something a child does or says, or a song, or a poem, or an encouraging word from another, or even a smile from someone which will cheer our souls.

But God knows what we need, and he will supply all that we need to endure unjust suffering and to keep walking by faith and not by sight, and to keep on in sharing the gospel of our salvation despite all opposition against us. And he will supply all that we need to love and to forgive our persecutors, too, so that we can do good to them, and not hate in return. For, Jesus loved those who did him evil, and he died for all of us who are sinners.

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!

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