"Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you." 1 John 3:13
"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 Peter 4:12-13So I had to ask myself, why am I unusually surprised tonight? Because the persecution, the attacks are no longer limited to the secular world. No, they are coming from within the church. They are coming from those who follow Christ, yet are offended when someone else steps up to tell the Truth. "Let's all get along and build one another up" but how can I build someone up who is helplessly leading the flock of Christ astray? And if that person is unapproachable due to his "fame" and ego, then perhaps should I not in the meantime simply speak to those being misled so that they may see the error and seek to be more discerning? My approach or delivery may not always be the most gracious-sounding (let's face it, I'm not one for soft, flowery words!), but I always strive to deliver the truth in love.
Let me tell you a secret: discernment ministry has its earthly costs, namely friends. Unbelievers want nothing to do with you because you're always talking about Jesus. That's okay, I can live with that. "What accord has Christ with Belial" anyway? But losing Christian friends is more difficult, because they are your fellowship and your encouragement in this world. Not that I would drive someone away for believing differently than me, but when others permanently separate from you with no explanation other than they do not like your approach to speaking the Truth well, I have to admit that the loss is difficult. I've lost several Christian friends in the last year or so, especially since starting this blog. If someone doesn't like the truth you speak, it's easier to just ignore you, I guess! And so I am down to a very small number of true friends who, despite all my faults, still love me and pray with me and for me.
Undoubtedly you have noticed that being a Christian in this world--a bold, unashamed, firm Christian--is not an easy task. And perhaps, like me, you've come to realize that it can result in a lonely life here on Earth. While it may not always be easy to feel alone down here, we must always remember and rejoice in the knowledge that we are not alone, but we have the greatest Comforter and the greatest Friend ever given in Christ Jesus and He will never forsake us.
"The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,Amen, thank you, God. And come quickly, Lord Jesus!
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:9-10