Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 22, 2010

"Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord." James 5:10
James never says, "If you suffer", he assumes that Christians WILL suffer. And with good reason - you will!
I am not being morbid or negative but think with me why it must be true that believers will necessarily suffer. Either you will try to conform to the thoughts and behaviors of this world or you will surrender to the Lordship of Christ and follow Him. Those are your two options and either one will result in suffering.
If you are a believer and yet you are chasing the world filled with worldly desires and attitudes, God is going to discipline you through suffering. He loves you too much to allow you to walk away from Him and return to your self-centered life so He will allow difficulties to enter your life to chasten you.
And, if you are a believer and you sincerely and whole-heartedly follow Christ in humility obediece you will please your God BUT you will think and act in a way that is contrary to the world. So, at the same time you are pleasing God you will run into conflict with the people of the world.
Christians are stretched between two worlds. You can only live in one, so you will always be in opposition to one of them. That causes conflict and suffering.
Those James wrote his letter to were suffering because of their testimonies. They were trying to live for God and were running afoul of the world. The ways of the world and the people of the world were trying to push him into their mold. Their refusal to do so was bringing suffering upon them.
So, the decision is yours. You can suffer for doing right or you can suffer for doing wrong. Which will it be?
I know - you want another choice! You would rather not suffer at all!
Good luck with that one!
You can suffer for doing right now or you can try avoid suffering now and put yourself at risk of terrible suffering forever.
Choose how you will suffer!