Yesterday we read about how much the world will hate us if we follow Christ. Jesus told the disciples they would be hated and persecuted. Many times in the Bible it is assured that we will suffer. Suffering and persecution are not maybes but will bes and ares. Jesus continued teaching. Verses 1-4 read,
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”
It is so easy, especially for those who have newer or weaker faith to fall away from the walk with God when bad things happen, when the world persecutes, or those whom they once counted as friends and community harass them. But Jesus said we would be put out of our old communities and circles. He said the world would hate us, and He said we would suffer. But He told us so that we wouldn’t lose faith, and fall away, but rather remember what He said and hold tight to His truth, His hope, and to Him.
To remember what He has said, you have to have read and heard what He has said for yourself. Other people will try to comfort you during your sorrows. They may use scripture. They may use misquoted scripture or misguided words to make you feel better. Those misrepresented words may make you feel better, but they will not bring you closer to your Lord, and they will not help you reach the goals or discipline the situation has for you. Rather than let people tell you what they think will lift your spirits, bring to mind what God has said and let Him guide you and comfort you through your troubles.
When people are persecuting you and hating you, remember John 15-18-19. Take to heart that their hate means that you are following Christ and chosen by Him.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
When you are suffering, consider that God, your Father disciplines you for a purpose and let the Comforter do what He needs to do in you. Romans 5:3-5 reads,
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Jesus didn’t tell you to go through your struggles alone. He is with you and your Brothers and Sisters are with you. They, like you are filled with the Holy Spirit and you are meant to be there for one another and hold one another up. Romans 12:10 reads,
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. “
Verses 15-16 of the same chapter read,
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
1 Thessalonians 5:13 tells us,
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Believers, be careful about how we encourage one another. Saying whatever comes to mind, misquoting scriptures and saying things we think the Bible says rather than what the Bible actually says is harmful. Remember you are filled with the Spirit. He is truth and love. Let Him talk. And when receiving that comfort let Him discern the truth from the hogwash. Ephesians 5:15-20 reads,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
The Bible is filled with truth, wisdom, and comfort for us regardless if we are rejoicing, mourning, trudging, walking or running. Whatever you are going through, recall God’s words and let them edify you and help you along the way.