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“Therefore, do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26).
That you will be afraid is a given. The question is, “Will you fear man or God?” The ego rises up to say, “There is no man I fear.” Maybe so, but most people fear the opinions that others hold of them. This is why so many labor and posture to fit in, be accepted, and judged worthy of some group. Ours is a call to boldness (v.27), however; to be a counter-cultural people of a counter-cultural Savior; holding to and speaking to the counter-cultural truth of His teachings. This narrow path will not gain the favor of those having chosen the wide path.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household” (Matthew 10:24-25).
For those expecting faith to be an exemption from the trials of life, like most assumptions, they will soon be disappointed. Fortunately, Jesus doesn’t paint a pain-free landscape before those who would be his disciples. The relationship we share with Jesus transcends that of student/teacher, slave/members; we are the most intimate members of his household. As his life was underwritten with the verbal clause, “He suffered,” so will ours. Memorize these verses and you will never again complain of life’s hardships.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).
If we dared to be honest about the truth, we might confess that we would prefer to be left to our self-deception. We might also admit that what we most often say to others is what we think they want to hear instead of that which we both need to hear. Let’s be honest, embracing truth as one’s reality is hard; even painful. To withhold truth from ourselves, or others, is the gravest deception.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13).
The daily pursuit of our faith is a pilgrimage fraught with multiple and unexpected beginnings and never-imagined endings. The twists, turns, starts, stops, backroads, and detours experienced on this journey bring the frustration of a seemingly delayed arrival to our desired destination. Through each beginning and ending we learn something about ourselves. More importantly, we learn much regarding the faithfulness of our God. Things don’t just turn out right; they are accomplished according to the One who causes all things to work together for good.
“As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God’” (Romans 3:10-11).
The statement is sometimes made that certain people are just more “bent” toward the things of God than are others; that it comes more natural to them. Today’s scripture refutes such thinking. In fact, there is nothing more diametrically opposed to our genetic DNA than the life of faith. It is a supernatural endeavor, empowered by a resurrected Savior and the working of his Spirit. We are either saying, “Yes” to his word and guidance, or “No.” It’s the difference between a supernatural life or just being like everyone else.
“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23).
I pray you will allow this passage to create for you, as it has for me, a moral tension. Most read this verse as a prediction to be figured out on some timeline; an intellectual exercise to be solved. For me, however, I am not so much conflicted by the “when” of this statement as I am convicted by the “why” that it raises. Why am I not persecuted? Why are we, as the church in the West, not suffering the same persecution as our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. I already know the answer. That’s why I’m convicted.
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
Regardless of how bad things may seem, hang in there. No matter what adversities come against you, don’t quit. Despite the number of times life knocks you to the ground, get up. In so doing, your faith is proved out. Man has created a religion that consoles its soul with lip service and church membership; verbal confessions coupled with lives having no regard for the things of God. Biblical faith, however, is evidenced by its never-ending commitment to sticking around even when the odds are stacked against you.