Friday, May 30, 2014

Do Not Fear Their Intimidation


Do Not Fear Their Intimidation

1 Peter 3:14-18
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: (you are blessed, privileged, honored) and be not afraid of their terror, (intimidation) neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

A True Story
I remember the day she walked into church pushing a baby stroller and looking a bit intimidated. I went to introduce myself and realized she was there because of a troubled past and an unsettled future. Alcohol and drugs had taken their toll on her and she was trying desperately to put her life back together. She appeared anxious and withdrawn not wanting anyone to really get to know her. She was finding it difficult to start over after so many dark years of substance abuse stealing her joy. The guilt on her face was plain to see, but her determination to go forward, out of the bondage of alcohol, superseded any distress she was anticipating.

Soon a friendship developed between us and she began to grow in the sight of God, we thought. Regularly she would give praise for her sobriety and she cheerfully celebrated three years of being clean. Shortly after her three year mark, she began to change and seemed troubled, agitated and upset. Before we knew it, she relapsed and began to blame others, and of course, God, for her fall. There were times when she would question God’s existence and deny that His Word was true. The dreadful thought of suicide threatened her emotions and she became unpredictable and extremely unpleasant.

She agreed to go to an out-of-state rehab center for help, but unfortunately, her little boy would have to stay behind. The church rallied around her and cared for her little boy while she was away. I had the privilege of caring for this little boy as did others and we all grew to love him. After six months, she returned home from the rehab center and once more, became troubled and anxious about her life. Again, she relapsed, but this time with a vengeance to pay back all that others had done to her in their efforts to help her in her substance abuse. 

Our only thought was to love and HELP her, knowing, it’s not unusual for people to mistreat those who are zealous to do good. Even this hostile world is slow to hurt people who have shown acts of kindness towards them, but it does happen. Why should we be surprised when someone we have called, “Friend,” has risen up against us in our attempts to share the love of Christ with them? We shouldn’t be shocked or taken back when people attack those sharing the Gospel in love. Scripture tells us we may suffer for righteousness sake and in doing so, we are blessed, honored and privileged to suffer for His cause. 

James says, “Count or consider it all joy when we encounter various trials.” The testing of our faith is the proving of our salvation. During a trial, we will learn to withstand with tenacity and endure the pressure and intimidation people may cause–––until God removes it. We are to sanctify the Lord in our hearts and through the suffering, greatly rejoice, bringing praise and glory and honor due His name.

Thought: If you’re endeavoring to help someone out of substance abuse, realize they could turn against you and blame you for their failures. They are ignoring the responsibility of their own sins, and widening the gap they feel towards God. Their selfish pleasures and self-absorbed desires cause them emotional turmoil and consequently, they forget or deny Christ. Remember to pray for this person who has slandered you and others and has publicly tried to damage your good reputation. The Bible says to keep a good conscience so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ, may be put to shame. 

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ (I Peter 3:16.)

Do not let the fear of man keep you from helping others out of this dreadful bondage or from sharing the love of Christ, the Gospel, with them. Proverbs 29:25, The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

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