It’s not typically mentioned when we talk about the gospel.
If we trust the Living God, we will labor and suffer reproach. (1 Tim 4:10)
I don’t like reading those words, much less living them.
But the truth is, the call to follow Christ is a call to die. (Matt 16:24-26)
It is not a call to your “Best Life Now”. (Yes, that’s a reference to a popular, false teacher)
Following Jesus is the narrow way. It’s not popular with the world, nor will it ever be.
We labor and suffer reproach simply because we trust Jesus.
Suffer Reproach. ….Um, not so okay.
But, we need to understand this and expect this, we need to prepare our kids for this, so we won’t be shocked, not if, but when, we suffer reproach.
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)
Did you see that?— “But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me””
Because they don’t know Him.
We have to remember and remind each other—when lost people come against us, it’s because they don’t know the Savior. They don’t trust Him.
They are putting their trust in countless things besides Him – government, money, human relationships, pleasure, careers, and on and on.
So, in those HARD moments, when you suffer reproach, learn to ask the Lord to help you see them as He sees them. Ask Him to help you respond as He would.
As you do this, you will be an example to other believers “in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim 4:12)
Let’s don’t be anxious about anything, including suffering reproach “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
Let’s don’t worry. Let’s keep our eye on the prize.
Paul goes on to encourage Timothy (and us) to give attention “to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (I Tim 4:13) so that his “progress may be evident to all” (1 Tim 4:15).
By keeping first things first, we will grow in our walk with the Lord, know how to live and interact with others, even those who persecute us, and we will impact the Kingdom for Christ.
Oh, this is good stuff!
Paul will continue on with more specific instruction about how we are to live in the church and with others. I so appreciate your prayers as I study and write! More tomorrow!