Suffering for the Truth’s Sake
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. John 15:20.
What will the human agent do to have the privilege of cooperating with God? Will he forsake all that he has rather than forsake Christ? . . . Will he suffer persecution for the truth’s sake? Reproach and persecution have separated many souls from heaven, but never a soul from the love of Christ. Never yet did persecution drive the soul who was indeed a lover of Jesus Christ away from Him. The love of Jesus in the soul is all-absorbing, for that great love wherewith God hath loved us, revealed in giving Christ to us, is beyond a parallel. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” . . .
If we can bear persecution for His dear name’s sake, His love becomes a ruling power in our hearts, for we have the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by his Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth’s sake. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon the human believer fall upon Christ in the person of His saints. “I will love him,” said Christ, “and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). Christ is condemned over again in the person of His believing disciples. When for the truth’s sake the believer is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him and ravishes his heart with His love. When he suffers death for the sake of Christ, Christ says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The apostle says to us, “. . . If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” Ask yourself, “Is my Redeemer thus magnified in me before the universe of heaven, before the satanic agencies, and before the world?”
That I May Know Him p. 275
—– Please pray for my husband, Matthew, that his mind might be renewed by the Spirit of God and that he may find the joy of the Lord and for daughter-in-law, Grace, that she might be healed from post partum depression, be reconciled with her sister, and be healed spiritually. C
A couple of days ago, Esther and I were talking about comments that a lady had been making on a couple of posts she had made on Facebook. In the course of the conversation Esther told me that I had met the lady in one of the churches they had attended. As she described the lady and her family, I remembered being so impressed with her child raising abilities. She and her husband sat on the front row with their young children (five or six of them as I remember it). Those children sat quietly and respectfully. I was wishing that I had known her secret when my children were little.
Sadly she and her family no longer go to church there. In fact, they left the church altogether. Shocked, I asked Esther how that came about. She explained that they had another child who was a little more active than the rest of her brood. She was teaching him to sit still and be quiet in church but by the age of two he had not yet mastered the skill. He was not disruptive as some two year olds are but he was needing a little extra help.
Instead of helping this mother, a single lady in the church who had never had any children decided that it was her duty to give her advice. Not having the courage to confront the mother in person, she wrote a very long and critical letter. She included a lot of information on childrearing in such a way as to discourage rather than encourage this family. Of course this was the very thing that the evil one used to so discourage and then anger this family until he had them in his grasp.
How much better it would have been if she had not written that letter at all. How much better it would have been if that single woman had offered to sit with the family and help keep that active two-year-old quiet and still.
How often we offend with our words whether written or spoken. Sometimes we offend unintentionally like this single woman did that day who in her mind, no doubt, thought she was doing right. Sometimes we speak against someone who is trying to follow God has and slander that one who is doing His Father’s will. Sometimes we offend because of anger or jealousy.
How this breaks our Great Redeemer’s heart of love. He, Who gave everything for us, is looking for the reflection of His character in us. He listens to our every word, waiting to hear His words coming from our lips. Yet, how often He sees and hears quite the opposite causing hurt to His Great Heart of Love. How true are Jeremiah’s words, “Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.” Jer 9:8
James tells us, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 1:26,27;3:2-18
With tears in His voice, our Loving Redeemer proclaimed, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matt 12:34-37
We will have to meet our words (both spoken and written) again. Solemn thought. Daily we should heed the advice of the children’s song that says, “O be careful little lips what you say.” Words we have spoken in anger, words we have spoken in jest, cruel words, slanderous words, all are recorded in the courts above. Our Dear Saviour hears them all. These words also have an effect upon ourselves. How careful then, should we be to put a guard upon our lips, lest by our words we wound those whom the Saviour loves, lest by our words we discourage the very one who is doing right, lest by our words we turn others away from their Only Helper.
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” 1 Pet 3:8-12