Today I feel compelled to share something I first wrote and shared on Facebook in July 2015. As I read this again this morning I found my heart stirred once again.
For the last several days I have been sensing a stirring in my heart regarding our country. I have not had a stirring either for that which is good or that which is bad. I do sense, however, a warning or a word of caution. There are many things being said in the news, via social media, in print, and over the airwaves. I am not trying to add yet another voice, but I simply feel compelled to share what I am hearing in my spirit.
Judgment is not coming in a manner we are touting or expecting. Judgment will begin with God’s people first. But we must not resist it, fight against it, or ask to be delivered from it. Rather, we are called to praise God and honor Him through it.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 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. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God . . .
This is God’s prescribed manner. Judgment must begin with His people; trials, persecution, and suffering. When Jesus Himself came to this world He did not do so to judge anyone, but rather to be judged and condemned for the sake and the advancement of the Kingdom of God. As His followers, we should anticipate, expect, and embrace the same thing.
If the people of God cannot endure the judgment then what hope does the world have at all? The world needs to see an example of an enduring and powerful Church. The world does not need to see an example of a resisting, flailing, and childish Church that operates with a sense of entitlement.
The absolute worst thing we can do when persecution comes upon the Church is to lash out and fight on humanistic, fleshly, or soulish terms. In fact, we need to quit acting as though we are not already victorious in and through Jesus Christ. We often fight as though His work was completely insufficient. 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
This does not have to be a trying time for the Church. This can be a triumphant time for the Church. We can stand in our victory, endure what comes, and shine as a light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. The world cannot get between Christ and His bride – He loves His bride very much. Many times, however, His work is limited by our fruitless efforts.
Could it be that our endurance of judgment will be the very thing that saves our country and the world at large from an even greater judgment? What if the Church really is the hope of the world? Are we willing to be who God has destined us to be even if it does not align with our preconceived ideas, opinions, hopes, or desires?
Judgment is not coming; judgment is here. What are we going to do about it? I do not want to show weakness or impotence that gives the world no hope. I want to be able to have sincere grace and mercy flow from me even as Christ on the cross asked His Father to forgive them for the persecution, trial, and judgment He was facing. Can we as His bride carry the cross we have been given? 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Church, this is our greatest hour. How will we be seen and remembered?