#8 He is willing to suffer and persevere for Christ:
The day you choose to become proactively engaged in winning the lost and discipling the saved, the war with the Enemy heats up. Go ahead, attend church, sing in the choir; attend religious programs. No problem, because you are of little if any threat to the Enemy. He’s more than happy to keep you busy with religious activities. As an evangelist and discipler, you are entering a spiritual battle with the arch enemy of your soul. So brace yourself for his vicious attacks.
In studying the life of Paul, as it relates to his efforts to win the lost and disciple the saved, two broad ideas emerge:
#1 Paul understood from experience that suffering was generic to being a laborer for Christ :
- “…We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death…” (2 Cor. 1:8b, 9a).
- “ Are they servants of Christ? I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again ” (2 Cor. 11:23a, c.). (Jn. 15:18-20; Matt. 5:12, 13; See 2 Cor. 11:24-30; Phil. 1:28, 29; 2 Tim. 3:12)
- “ Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city…Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said” (Act. 14:19, 20a 21, 22).
#2 Paul persevered through his suffering in bearing fruit, and challenged others to do the same:
No doubt Paul understood Jesus’ teaching, “… The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Lk. 8:15b). Clearly, Paul modeled and preached perseverance: “ We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body …Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (II Cor. 4:8-10; I Cor. 15:58). (See 2 Cor. 6:3-10; 12:15; 2 Tim. 4:6-8; Jms. 1:3, 4).
The marketplace is hostile to the values of the Lord Jesus. Little wonder that Jesus reminded us that “you cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24b). So, when you choose to identify yourself with the Lord Jesus in the Machiavellian world of commerce, and you seek to evoke change in the people in that environment, expect the fulfillment of Jesus’ statement, “All men will hate you because of me…” (Matt. 10:22). (See 2 Tim. 3:12)
QUESTION : Are you up to the challenge?
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight HillViews: 34