“If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world…but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master… If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you… But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me.” John 15:19-21 (AMP)
We cannot expect those who do not know Father God and Jesus intimately to live in a way that bears forth the fruit of His love, kindness and humility, or treat us as if they know the Father’s compassionate, grace-giving heart.
As ambassadors of reconciliation, we must forgive and pray that they come to know Him for He loves them and sent His Son for them also. Though not easy, as we commit to obey Jesus’ words in this with our will and choices, He will impart His grace to our hearts to do so and we may soon even experience a greater peace compared to when we would respond to mistreatment as the world would respond.
“But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36 (AMP 2015)
If we actively live as those who bear His name, seeking His heart and to represent Him in this world, we can expect to go through trials and persecution. Our faith and our trust in Him will be tested, perfected, and purified as He builds perseverance in us.
“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.” James 1:2-3 (AMP)
The simple fact that we live out His Kingdom values in a world that walks in the opposite makes it impossible for us not to go through such trials and challenges. Not only that, but our own continued growth in the renewal of our minds from conformity to the ways of the world also challenges us as we grow in enduring love, faith, and steadfastness.
“And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” Romans 12:2 (AMP 2015)
And finally, Jesus says to us even today:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived. Tribulation includes trials, frustration, and distresses even in this time, not just in the Great Tribulation spoken of that will occur in the handful of years before Christ’s return. Just ask someone from the persecuted Church across the world.
But be of good cheer!
When the Lord spoke these verses to me this morning, He had such a joy in His voice and I sensed a great smile on His face. He says:
“I have overcome the world! Be of good cheer! Joy in Me and joy in this, for you are safe and you will see Me again and rejoice, and all shall be well with your soul. Do not fear and do not fret.”
This life is not the end of your story, nor mine. Even on this side of eternity’s shore, we can know that our Father is faithful. He is always with us, in and through it all, perfecting all that concerns us.
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)