Thursday, August 11, 2011

Because of Enemies

Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friend - those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." Psalm 31:11-14

When I come across scriptures like these I wonder how it relates to me and how I can relate to it. What does God want me to do with it? I don't have enemies. I mean, I've had people over the years I didn't like and who didn't like me, and there are probably some people even now who couldn't care less about me. But enemies? People who hold contempt for me? Conspire against me and plot to take my life? No. I don't experience those things.

So, what is it Lord? What am I to get from these words? You included them for a reason.

And He answers.

We have Christian brothers and sisters who live these verses each and every day. While the exact numbers are unknown, you can only imagine with more than 50 nations that restrict the sharing of the gospel. Our brothers and sisters, bought into the Lord's family the same way we were - by the blood of Jesus - are facing true enemies, contempt of their neighbors, people who flee from them simply because they are Christians, and terror on every side of them. Yet they hold fast to their faith.

What can I do?

I can read the words of God, remember my brothers and sisters in Christ (who will be as precious to me in heaven as my own parents, sister, husband, and children are to me here on earth) and lift them up to the Lord.

We, in Christ, "form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." {Romans 12:5} We are one. We are not to live our convenient, comfortable lives and simply thank God for the blessings He pours out on us. We are to be broken-hearted for those in our family who suffer on a daily basis. And we are to pray.

Pray that they will hold fast to their faith and trust in God completely. Pray they will be delivered from their enemies, but if not, that God's name will be glorified. Pray that they will be bold in their proclamations of the truth of God's love, grace, and mercy through His Son Jesus. Pray that their love will abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that they are able to discern what is best in every situation they face. Pray for workers to come alongside them to help them learn the Word, be able to teach it to others, and be encouraged. Pray that we will never forget, never ignore, never disregard our brothers and sisters persecuted around the world.

Every word in scripture is God-breathed, alive and active, and does not return to Him without completing it's mission. This is true for even the hard words. Ignoring them doesn't change them. Looking into them and opening ourselves to what God wants to say to us through them will change us and bless us beyond comprehension - just not in the ways we always expect.

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