I want to put a leash on 2020, so I can control how fast it moves and runs. I woke up on the 2nd of February and I wondered how we are already in the second month of the year. Do you feel like me? Do you feel like the year wants to run out so fast and not let you do anything? Well, that’s not true; the year is not running out so fast. It has been giving us the complete 24 hours we need for each day. Don’t let fear get the best of you, meditate on your victories, and make sure to be very intentional about making each moment count.
I just hopped out from my personal Bible study to begin this post. I was reading Matthew 24, and I got to where Jesus was answering a question His disciples asked. His disciples had asked Him, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end?” to answer their question, Jesus started listing the signs of the end time. And as I read through, a particular sign got to me, and there…I knew beyond doubt that God wanted me to write about it. You see, I’ve been asking God what I was going to write about, and as I read through it, I just knew that was what the Holy Spirit wanted me to write about. So, what’s this particular sign on Jesus’ list, according to Matthew 24, that the remaining words in this post will be talking about?
“…and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” Matthew 24:9
We, Christians, have a way of dimming our lights because we’re afraid of not being liked and accepted. We tend to want to dilute the concentrated force on our inside because we don’t want to offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable. And honestly, who can blame us? Every day I see things and people that claim to represent Jesus and yet they aren’t representing Jesus in anyway, at all. People see these things and persons that represent Jesus wrongly and they are just irritated, and if you dare mention Jesus to these irritated persons, they immediately want to take out their irritation on you. Everywhere you turn, there are a whole lot of persons that hate all about our Faith, and their hatred is based on reasons that look so good on the outside and inside. So, of course that’s a good reason to cripple and silence a Christian. But that’s not close to being half “enough reason” to cripple and silence us Christians because Jesus already gave us heads-up. Plus we understand that this is a major strategy of the devil. So, we don’t dim, we don’t go under, we don’t shrink, we don’t quite…we go brighter, higher, bigger and harder.
Now, I’m not saying we should throw Jesus at people. I’m not saying we get to turn up the volume of our speakers in a neighborhood to have a loud fellowship throughout the night and just keep everyone in the neighborhood uncomfortable. I’m, definitely, not saying we should turn blind eyes to the fact that there’s a school close to our church building, and just disrupt an entire school day because we want to have prayer meetings during school hours…or any of those crazy and wrong stuff we do. Jesus didn’t take people’s comfort from them; He only convicted them of the comfort they had in sin. Jesus didn’t take Peace and Joy; He gave Peace and Joy…little wonder why the multitude left their homes and followed Him wherever He went. So, what am I saying?
We should be ALL IN to do what the Holy Spirit will have us do; when He’ll have us do it and how He’ll have us do it.
This is what I’m talking about. We shouldn’t be scared to go all out to obey the leadings of the Spirit. We should be bold and confident to do God’s general and specific instructions to us. Are you doing the things the Bible requires of you as a believer? Is God asking you to pray with a particular person? Is He asking you to talk to someone about something specific? Has He ever told you to lay hands on the sick and heal the sick? Or is there something strictly “Holy Spirit filled” that God wants you to do? Have you done it? Are you doing it? Are you still doing it…or you just had to quit, when people started looking at you funny or acting funny around you? Or you’re not doing it at all because you feel people will see you as an extremist…and might conclude you have nothing else to offer outside your faith. Well, that was me.
When God started making me to fall in love with the idea of sharing truths from God’s Word, I was excited…super excited. I joined the “Bible study” group in my church and I was so excited about each Bible study session I facilitated. But when God laid it in my heart to blog? I was so sure I didn’t want that. I remember telling God that, everyone already knows me as a Christian…they know about Jesus…and they don’t need me talking about Jesus yet again. I remember suggesting to God to bless me with exceptional writing skills and then give me a good platform to write novels, short stories poems…you know, all those cool secular stuff, that way, people will see His creativity in my life and will inquire why I was so good, and then I get to tell them, “it’s Jesus.” For me, this was a better strategy, than just going out there to talk about Jesus, when everyone already knows me as a “church girl.”
Are you like the old me? Well, you need to stop fighting with God and start doing what He’ll have you do, because we can’t fear man’s hatred and disobey God’s instructions. Yes, a Christian can be an excellent secular writer, but what if that’s not what God will have you do…or that’s not what He’ll have you do yet? God doesn’t need our suggestions and opinions, and that’s not because He’s mean or boastful. It’s simply because He knows us more than we can ever dare to know ourselves. He knows what is VERY important in life. He has an assignment for each and every one of us. And no matter what we think, feel and believe…what He wants us to do, when He wants us to do it and how He wants us to do it…is what is right. Every other thing that contradicts His “what” “when” and “how”: is wrong…absolutely WRONG.
YES…the world will hate you, so take your eyes off the world…and don’t you dare look at the world ever again.
The devil lied to us. The reason the world hates us has nothing to do with what we are doing with our Faith. It is not our actions that get the world angry. The world is angry because of who we are in Christ. Whether we are active or inactive with our Faith the world will still hate us. Why? Because the devil can’t stand us, and since his little power can only be felt here on earth, he’ll do everything to make sure we see and feel his hatred towards us. So, whether you obey God’s instructions or not, being a Christian is already a qualification for the world to hate you.
The world hated Jesus. Pilate said, “I can’t find any fault in this man.” Yet the crowd said, “crucify Him!” don’t get it twisted, it wasn’t just because of Jesus’ teachings…no, it wasn’t. Besides, the crime Barnabas committed was greater than all Jesus said and did. Barnabas was a murder and a thief; Jesus gave life and feed the hungry, yet He took the place of Barnabas and died. The devil couldn’t stand Him, hence the devil set the hearts of the leaders and elders against Jesus. But, isn’t it cool how when the devil thought he was getting at Jesus, he wasn’t…but he was just helping Jesus fulfill purpose? We have to understand that we carry this same Jesus on our inside. The world hated Him; it shouldn’t be a surprise that the world hates us too, again, because Jesus gave us heads-up. He told us it was going to happen to us…and the best part is; the hatred of the world will eventually help us fulfill purpose.
Live Loud and Bold!
We aren’t called to live silently. We are a cities that are set on a hill…we can’t be hidden, we are the Salt of the earth and we are the Lights of the world (see Matthew 5:13-16). We are here to show forth the marvelous works of Jesus, Who brought us from darkness into the kingdom of His Father (see 1 Peter 2:9). We have to live Loud and Bold. If God will have you do it…then do it. Don’t just do it…do it as God will have you do it and when He’ll have you do it. Let the world keep shooting the hatred arrows…we fear not, for the Love of God is our shield and protection. We dwell in His secret place. We have the Holy Spirit, and we have the right to get to God whenever we need help…and yes, we’ll, always, find the help, strength and boldness we need (See Hebrews 4:16).
And finally, if we don’t live Loud and Bold, who will be the true Christ Ambassadors here on earth? (See 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20) Jesus can’t represent Himself all by Himself here on earth. He gave us that assignment. How can the world be saved if they don’t hear, know and see the true nature of Jesus, and how can they hear, know and see His true nature if we don’t live Loud and Bold? (See Romans 10:14)
Now, I didn’t really insert scriptures above, but everything I just shared is from the Bible. So, here are some scriptures to meditate on. I pray they help you live and keep living Loud and Bold:
“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 (NIV)
“Blessed are you when others revile and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 (ESV)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world will love you as its own; but because you’re not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecute me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:18-20 (ESV)
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (KJV)
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
“So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13: 6 (BSB)
“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 (NIV)
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 (NIV)
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV)
My prayer for you and me:
May we experience a quickening…May the same power that raised Jesus from the grave infuse in us God’s Boldness and Strength. May we become extremely radical in our obedience to God. May we wake up each day with a determination to go ALL IN with and for Jesus.
Get in the gym, and do
Stay Spiritually Fit.