Matthew 10:34-36 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and if our faith is genuine, resulting in lives of holy living and obedience to our Lord and in the putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we are going to be opposed, even perhaps by our own family members and those of our own households. And the closer we walk in fellowship with our Lord and in obedience to his word and to his ways, the greater the persecution will become because the enemy of our souls is fighting hard against us.
For, you see, we may have many people in this life who will despise and reject us and who will turn against us and who may do evil to us, but nothing hurts like it does when a family member turns against you and sins against you, especially if that family member is a spouse or a parent or a son or a daughter, and especially if that family member is someone who lives with you, and so you share the same household, and so you experience that opposition on a more frequent basis.
Well, an online friend of mine and of my husband’s wrote to me this morning to let me know he had read my book (1) in entirety in the middle of the night, for the second time, I believe, and he was writing (publicly) to let me know how it had ministered to him this time around. And so I shared his comments with my husband who had been sharing with me about some points of interest with regard to a place we had lived a long time ago. And my husband concurred with what the man shared with me.
Well, that book that the Lord had assigned to me to write in 2018 is a story of abuse, primarily at the hands of family members (father and husband), but also at the hands of pastors and elders of churches, and also coming from other Christians (or professers of faith in Jesus Christ only). Very little of the abuse came from those who made no profession of faith in Jesus Christ at all. And my husband approved of the writing of the book, and he agreed with it, and he wrote the forward to the book.
But the abuse did not cease with the writing of the book. It has continued, perhaps not in as drastic of ways as times in our past, but it is still present with us, for my husband is still struggling with sexual addiction and heart issues, and he has yet to come out of it and to stay out of it and to go the other direction. He has made many attempts in that direction, though, but they have all failed and have not produced the kind of change necessary to be sustained. And he has made his situation public on numerous occasions.
So, when I look back over my life I can see how Satan was fighting against me from birth through these other people. And there were times when he was successful in bringing me down and discouraging me and even getting me to give up and to give in to him for a short period of time. But God was watching over me, and he was preparing me for this present ministry. All of this abuse was “on the job training” for the ministry to which my Lord has called me, which is to share his gospel on the internet.
So, what Satan means for evil in our lives God can turn around for good. In fact, God allows these things in our lives or they could not happen to us. And he allows them to make us holy, to purify our hearts, to make us more like Jesus, and to humble us so that we will be moldable clay in the Potter’s hands for Him to form as he wills, and not as our flesh wills. I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I had not suffered in the way that I did, I would not be prepared or equipped for this calling God has placed on my life.
Honestly, all of the abuse took away any desire that I had in the flesh to go my own way, and it brought me to the place where I would be completely the Lord’s and to where I will do and say whatever he assigns me to do or to say, even if it gets me hated in return, and even if more abuse gets piled on top of me. For we live in a time when the gospel that Jesus taught is not being taught much at all, and it has been replaced with a cheapened version of the true gospel in order to tickle itching ears and to appease human flesh.
So, in today’s church culture, if you are teaching what Jesus taught, in the purest sense, and if you are teaching what Paul taught (in its fulness), and if you are teaching what the other apostles taught, even most professing Christians are going to fight against you, and they will oppose you, or they will have nothing to do with you because most of them are believing the lies and not the truth. So the Lord had to bring me to the place in my life to where I would live or die for him and to where I would not cease to teach the truth even if all people hated me and turned against me.
Matthew 10:37-39 ESV
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
And this is definitely not being taught in today’s modern gospel presentations, but this is all throughout the New Testament, perhaps not in these specific words, but this message is taught all throughout the New Testament. And this is what the Lord taught me through my “on the job training” of “hard knocks.” I have to choose Jesus above all – above parent or child or spouse or pastor or elder or church gathering, etc. Even if all turn against me, and I must stand alone, then I will stand alone!
We have to choose Jesus and not compromise our faith in order to be approved by other humans. If we do not, we are not worthy of him. Daily we have to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Daily we must die to sin and to self and follow Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways no matter who fights against and rejects us in return. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of Christians or pastors or elders who opposed me, not because I was sinning, but because I was obeying Jesus and his word.
For they were following after the flesh, and they were following marketing schemes of humans, and they were not following the pure truth of the Scriptures. They wanted me to compromise the truth in order to be more acceptable to other humans. But do you know where that will lead you if you choose the approval of other humans over obedience to the Lord? Please read what this says. If we hold on to our own lives we will lose them for eternity, but if for the sake of Jesus we die to sin and to self, and if we obey him, that will end in eternal life with God. So, please take this to heart.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.
3 thoughts on “The School of Hard Knocks”
Reblogged this on Walking Wounded and commented:
I believe this writing needs to go on both “Run With It” and “Walking Wounded” today.
Well said, Sue. Well said. Blessings!
LikeLiked by 2 people
Glory to God. Thank you, Bruce.