THE TANGIBLE TARGETS
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
  Ezra 6-8 | John 21

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” —2 Timothy 3:12

We cannot allow the above verse to become a deterrent from living a godly life. What we must be mindful of is that there are people who wish to attack God and all that He represents. God is invisible so they cannot literally and physically do that. So what do they do? They attack His people instead.

If God has given us a position with a measure of influence, and we seek to honour Him and walk humbly with Him, then we should not be surprised if we come under attack. This is not due to a godly life taking on a “holier than thou” stance, but the reverse is true. As Christians, we recognize our sin and our inability to live the way God intended. We have repented and submitted to Christ as Lord. He then makes His home in us, and our godliness is the tangible expression of Christ in us. If someone wants to hurt God, they must attack that which expresses God.

Unless we are foolishly provoking antagonism, we should not take persecution too personally. Throughout its history, the persecution of the church has been the persecution of Christ. Saul of Tarsus was the most adamant opponent of the Christian church, breathing out murderous threats and rounding up Christians for persecution. On the road to Damascus when Jesus asks him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4), Saul would have been stunned. “Who are you, Lord?” he asked. How could Saul attack Christ and not even know who He is? Very simply—by attacking His church, which is Christ’s body comprised of every Christian. Hence, an attack on the body is not because there is a conflict with Christians, but a conflict with Christ Himself.

In the Old Testament, God had to reassure Samuel when the people rebelled and demanded a king. Samuel was depressed and hurt over this, but God said to him, “...it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:7). When we take the brunt of people’s rebellion against God, it is simply because we are something physical they can rebel against.

However, we should not negate legitimate criticism. Our critics may be right and if they are, we need to listen, be thankful and take appropriate steps to correction. But Paul warns of persecution being inevitable for those who want to live a godly life. This is rebellion against God, and we must treat it as such. There is no need to vindicate ourselves or God. We are simply the tangible targets, and God will do both in His time.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I pray for those who have yet to discover that You are the way, the truth and the life. May Your Spirit draw them and their hearts be receptive. Thank You, Lord.


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