Burden of Freedom
When Paul and his fellow disciples were beaten and homeless, because they were circulating the gospel message of salvation from sin and death through Jesus, this is how they responded:
"We labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat." (1 Cor. 4)
When I looked up the definition of entreat, here is what I found:
"To persuade, ask urgently, petition anxiously."
Basically, it's the opposite of retreating.
Do we give into the temptation of retreating from the field, when pain happens to us?
(I play Johnny Cash's Burden of Freedom at the end. I hope it blesses you.)
Please hear me:
This is not an exhortation to tolerate the infliction of harm. (These men were imprisoned.)
This is an encouragement to continue to proclaim the message of Jesus, regardless of the things that Jesus promised would happen, when we're obedient -- And to rejoice in it.
In Matthew 10, Jesus instructs his disciples to "wipe the dust" from their feet when people aren't receptive to the message and move on. We're told that following Christ will bring a sword between family members (Matt 10). It's a natural cause-and-effect of faithfulness in a sinful world that hates the things of God.
Disciples are told to not be overcome by evil, or to retaliate by returning evil or evil -- but to overcome evil with good. "Love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Pet. 4:8)
There are people whose hearts are good soil and whom God has ripened for his harvest. That's who he's after. Your children. Your neighbor. Your doctor. Your co- worker.
If you are a believer, God has anointed you to bring deliverance by sharing his Son. To share the Way, the Truth and the Life.
I know what it's like to get "stuck" in the anguish of what or who begins to come against us, when we are submissive to the will of God. Nothing pulls the veil back on the spiritual warfare in the natural world around us, like obedience.
Don't despise the devastation. Don't despise the revelation. Weep, mourn, and rejoice, "for great is your reward in heaven." (Matthew 5:12)
We must rely on the grace given to us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ to get over ourselves and under Him, who is worthy of it all.