Handling Adversity ~ DAY 87

The reality that we must face head on as Christians is that we may, for the first time in America have to really sacrifice and suffer for our faith.  In essence, we would join hand-in-hand with the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews.  The primary reason for the pain they were experiencing in their lives was their faith in Jesus Christ.  If they  would simply renounce Christ and return to the ways of the law under Moses most of the ridicule, persecution, and ostracism against them would cease.

We are reminded throughout the Bible that suffering for righteousness sake is all part of being a Christ follower.  “For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for Him”  (Philippians 1:29).  “For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).  This is why the writer of Hebrews penned these words in Hebrews 13:13-14, “We must go out to Him, then outside the camp, bearing the abuse He experienced.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” 

Our commitment and devotion to Christ is going to be tested and tried like never before.  Are we ready for the test?  Note that it is not about following a system or religion.  It is about continuing to follow a person.  “We must go out to Him.”  Wherever Jesus goes, we must follow.  Wherever He is, we must be there too.  “Outside the camp” refers to the majority or the system.  We cannot determine what we should do by what everyone else is doing.  We may even be called by God to stand alone in our church, our family, our school, or our place of employment.  Are we willing to bear the abuse Jesus experienced?  Jesus was verbally and physically abused!  Jesus exclaimed to those following Him that if they were not willing to take up their own cross and follow Him could not be His disciple.  Please read Luke 9:23-27.  Jesus also stated that the way of life in Him is narrow and difficult and few are willing to go that way.  See Matthew 7:13-14.

When we are convinced that who or what we are suffering for is greater and grander than anything this world could offer us, we are much more likely to be willing to “bear His abuse.”  Speaking of Moses, our author writes, “He regarded abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasure of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on the reward”  (Hebrews 11:26).

May we also be imitators of those Spirit – filled believers in Acts chapter 5.  “And they summoned the apostles and had them beaten.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.  So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name”  (Acts 5:40-41).