GREAT TIME TO BE A CHRISTIAN 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-16

Really?  Great time?  Am I crazy?  Should I crawl out from under the rock I’m hiding under?  Get my head out of the sand?  No.  These are great times to be a Christian!

I know it’s not politically correct, as battles for the Lord are getting harder to win in our culture.  Losses mount.  Labels of bigotry and narrowness hurled our way.  Certain notable moral issues cause major rifts.

Saying you’re a Christian leaves you wide open to nasty comments.  But so what.  Rejoice!  You’re on God’s team.  If we lose this battle, we know that God has the ultimate victory!   For sure.

But family and friends?  That’s when the rubber meets the road.  We’ve lost some.   Hurt and sorrow tear at our hearts.  So, we pause and consider.  But hasn’t Jesus warned us (John 16:33, Matthew 10:34-39)?  Comes as no shock?  Yet it does.  After all, we’re not made of stone.  More like dust and clay.  Rejection hurts.  Scorn stings.

I sense the Lord wants to toughen me up.  Thicken my hide.  Be who I say I am.  I could use some of the Apostle Paul’s gutsy hard shell.   I don’t mean rudeness or arrogance; which, unfortunately, I have resorted to at times when cornered.  But more like what Paul says –‘We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.  You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness.  We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else’ (1 Thess. 2:4-6).  See what I mean?

When studying for my masters at Princeton Seminary, many of us took a social mobility test.  The results?   Most, me included, wound up as ‘country club managers’, making sure everyone was happy and taken care of.  Peanuts and drinks well supplied.  No controversies.  Everything cool and collected.  The model pastor?

Not what the Apostle Paul has in mind!  Stand tall for Jesus.  Lean in next to Him, holding on for dear life.  Helps us stay upright.  Tempered with love and humility.  And have a great time!

 

Lord, give us the strength to be yours regardless of anything.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

 

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