HOW’S IT FEEL TO GET KICKED AROUND?

How’s it feel to get kicked around literally or figuratively for taking a stand and doing the right thing?  Have you ever been there? Jesus knew that His followers would encounter fierce resistance, so He immediately dismissed any idealistic notion of what it meant to be His servant. He told them that persecution and betrayal would come from unexpected places and all kinds of people, even family and friends (Matthew 10:21–22, 34–36).

Jesus desires that we be fully prepared to be hated and treated poorly just as He was (Matthew 10:25). Yet we can find comfort and encouragement in our struggles, knowing such ill-treatment is a sign of our close fellowship with Jesus.  Sheep are defenseless animals. Unless they stay near their shepherd, they have no hope of surviving against a pack of wolves. We will face persecution in our mission to follow and obey Christ, He encourages us not to fear: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Who’s messing with you today?  Are you willing to take a courageous stand in the face of ridicule and insult? Here’s how you can do it!

Expect trouble.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). At what point did Christians start believing that if they follow Christ, everything will go smoothly in their life? This certainly didn’t come from the early church. Those who followed Jesus suffered great persecution; why should we be exempt” Romans 8:17 reminds us: “And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.”

 Strive for trust over understanding.

God’s ways are far above our ways (Isaiah 55:9) and He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). That’s why we are instructed to not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). If your trust is dependent upon your understanding, your faith is going to falter.

 Check your source.

Where your approval comes from is where your faith with be. Are you truly having faith in God or in something or someone else? Perhaps it’s your boss or your spouse or even your children. 1 Galatians 1:10 says: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Submit to God.

Satan LOVES to try and destroy your faith. Want to send Satan packing? Then follow James 4:7: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. If you’re faltering in your faith, it’s likely that you you’re trying to fight Satan without being fully submitted to God.”

Pray.

Prayer is our greatest form of communication with God. Matthew 21:22 reminds us that whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. This tells me that God expects us to use this powerful form of communication and the power behind it is not in our words but in our faith.

Arm yourself.

There is a battle going on right now for your faith. The enemy wants to get you to believe that God can’t be trusted. That is why Ephesians 6:11 is so hearty in it’s appeal to: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” If you are not armed daily with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace and the shield of faith, you will be a sitting duck for the enemy to come and pluck every ounce of faith from your life.

Fight.

In 1 Timothy 6:12a, Paul tells Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. And to fight the good fight of the faith. Faith is worth pursuing and fighting for. If you want to be a warrior in the faith, you need to stand up and fight.

Read.

Romans 10:17reminds us that faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Usually in our faith struggles, we run from the Word of God, when that’s the time to run to the Word. God’s Word is alive and He will use it to speak to you personally. There have been countless times where God helped my faith by showing me the many men and women in the bible who were struggling just like me and God came through for them.

 Check yourself.

Are you letting your feelings lead your faith, are you trying to please man over God? If your faith is faltering it’s likely that you’re questioning God. Instead question your faith. Follow God not feelings. You may not ‘feel’ like God loves you or ‘feel’ mature in your knowledge of God. But you will be able to stand firm in faith when the rains come. Put your doubt in its proper place. To expect that we won’t doubt would be foolish, but does this mean that the minute doubt comes in, we give it full rein

Faith is a life-long journey.

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