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ACCEPT JOY NOT SHAME

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Acts 5:39-41: And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Today’s Christians are in serious need of an attitude adjustment. Every time any little thing happens, whether it is some law that gets passed that we do not like, or some TV show or movie that comes out that is “insensitive” to us, or whenever some journalist or college professor denounces us, we want to complain. We talk about how Christians are being so oppressed and disrespected; how our views and values are not taken seriously; how hostile the world is to sincere believers. Some people talk about how uncomfortable the Christian – bashing feels, about how they are under pressure to either change or conceal their beliefs. And so on. Please. These things are no threat to Christians. What MIGHT be a threat to Christians is how there is this organized political campaign that ENCOURAGES Christians to become whiners. It is a clear example of how so many influential people who claim to represent the Christian faith are so motivated by power and influence. Such people need A) our prayers and B) to be openly challenged by Christians who know the truth.

And this truth is threefold. 1) Words have power. If you speak it, it goes with your endorsement as someone who professes salvation through Christ into the spirit world. When that happens, you empower evil spirits and renounce the positive righteous power of God over your life (to a point). Of course, you are still saved and your soul will still be protected. But if you claim persecution, persecution will come. If you claim rejection, rejection will come. If you claim disrespect, disrespect will come. If you claim defeat, defeat will come. Why? BECAUSE THOSE ARE DEMONS! Invite them, and they will be more than glad to stick around. And not only with your talk are you inviting them to you, when you say “Christians are being disrespected/mistreated/marginalized/hated” etc., then you are inviting it onto the entire Body of Christ! Now this will not affect those strong in Christ much – although it is most certainly something that they do not need – but it may certainly have a negative effect on the new believers and those struggling with their faith! At minimum, it may make someone less likely to perform works, especially evangelism. We need to speak faith, power, and success over ourselves and the Body of Christ, then we need to pray on it, and then we need to claim it for ourselves and act on it.

2) Why do we expect the world to act differently? Amos 3:3 says “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” The world is WICKED. True Christians are RIGHTEOUS. OF COURSE the wicked unsaved are going to reject righteous Christians! Not only that, righteous Christians should have equal rejection for the unsaved world! That is why the world keeps trying to impose “tolerance” on the church; desperately trying to make us as unrighteous as they, not because they want to accept us but because they are doing the will of their master, the prince of this world Satan! The fact that these Christians WANT the acceptance of the world shows that they have not truly rejected that which is unrighteous. It shows that these Christians WANT to walk in agreement with idolators, witches, liars, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, murderers, and blasphemers. Our spirits may be redeemed, but our mind and flesh is not, because we still want the worldly things. In black America, the term “sellout” is applied by some blacks to others who compromise their “black identity” and harm other blacks in order to gain some “white privilege”. We should not be Christian sellouts! There is nothing in the world that we want! There is nothing in the world from which we should seek respect! We are the privileged ones, not them! They are on their way to HELL, we are on our way to HEAVEN! We should not want to be like them! We should want THEM to be like US! The very fact that we see things otherwise shows how we have failed to totally commit ourselves to Christ. We want to sit and allow our minds – and bodies – to be idled and corrupted by watching secular TV and movies just like the unsaved do. So when we see something that offends our Christian sensibilities, we want to complain and demand something that is only slightly less idling and corrupting than what offended us. Why are we so unwilling to accept that we are unlike everyone else and find more edifying ways to spend our time? You are different from that unsaved person that is your co – worker, schoolmate, neighbor, or relative. Instead of trying to be like them and finding “Christian” ways to emulate their sinful ways, you should be rejoicing in your own salvation and seeking to convert them. Otherwise, how else will they benefit from your example? When you ask them to give their life to Christ, they will say “Why? You are the one who wants to be me but won’t because of your RELIGION. I am happy and you’re not! Why would I want to be like you; to have what you have”?

3) It appears that Christians have forgotten or renounced James 1:2 – My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. We SHOULD be joyful when the world comes at us because it is confirmation that we are different. It is confirmation that we are saved. Yes, it makes us stronger as well, but the main thing is that we are not among those who do not love God or His Son. Every time someone rejects us, mocks us, calls us “uneducated”, “dangerous”, “bigoted”, “divisive”, and says that our message has no business being in entertainment, media, or academia, we should rejoice. It sounds simplistic and dogmatic, but it is true: we are right and they are wrong. When those who are wrong attack you, there is a reason! There is a reason why the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Romans killed Jesus Christ. They killed Him because they were wicked! So when their modern day descendants reject you because of the Christ that is in you, it should make you glad, not sad! You should be HONORED to suffer even a little of the abuse that Jesus Christ suffered; that his apostles suffered, that Stephen and Antipas suffered. Christ, His apostles, and His martyrs did not go complaining! While Stephen’s life was being stoned out of him, he asked God to forgive his demon – filled murderers and looked up and saw Heaven open to receive his spirit! When Peter was being crucified upside down and suffered an agonizing two days before he died, he did not accept shame, humiliation, or condemnation! No, he claimed victory, and urged everyone who passed by to accept it with him! You should count it all for joy when you suffer temptation because God has given you victory over the Tempter, the motivator of the wicked people that are attacking you, which is Satan! And if you claim that victory, you can not only overcome the Tempter with the Power of Christ, but you can use it to set your very tempters free! I shudder to think of the abuse that I used to give to Christians back when I was unsaved and mocking their faith. But only for a second, because immediately after I begin rejoicing that I am one of them and am suffering the same defeated tactics, the same snide remarks and cutting glances and attempts to ostracize, as I once allowed Satan to use me to inflict on others! But they overcame, and thanks to the God in them using them as an example I overcame, and now that same God is using me to help others overcome!

That “sour grapes” cliché is true. The things that we cannot have are the things that make us the most angry, resentful, and frustrated. Christians want the illusion of money, power, fame, pleasure, and easy living that the unsaved have. To the Christian with the unredeemed mind, the grass always looks greener on the other side. But because Christians are unwilling to spend eternity in the lake of fire – thank goodness – we can’t have what the unsaved have. But we want it anyway, and it eats us up inside. Well, the way to combat this is not to try to get the world to be a little less worldly so we can experience a little more of it. Like a slightly bigger taste of their sin would satisfy us. How, when those who are consuming the whole of it still are not satisfied? That is the ridiculous thing: the very people that unredeemed Christians envy are not happy, and the very people who should be happy – undredeemed Christians – are not. Seriously, how foolish is it to watch a movie that glorifies violence, fornication, drunkenness, and profanity (including blasphemy) BUT DRAW THE LINE AT HOMOSEXUALITY OR ABORTION BECAUSE THAT OFFENDS YOUR CHRISTIAN VALUES?!?! I, for one, am glad that these movies and TV shows are getting more and more wicked, because that is all they were anyway, and the fact that they are getting so evil that Christians can no longer tolerate it is GOOD for Christians, not bad. The same goes for politics and everything else that the world has invested itself in. Do not concern yourself with the things that Satan owns; put your trust, hope, and desire in the things that Satan cannot touch!

Now, am I trying to say that Christians are better than the unsaved? If I am, so be it. Christians are headed for eternal life with Jesus Christ; the unsaved are headed for the lake of fire. Christians have all power in the Name of Jesus Christ, the unsaved have no power. Christians are eternal victors through Christ; the unsaved are defeated. Christians are heirs and co – heirs through Jesus Christ; the unsaved inherit only iniquity. Christians sow good seed and are fruitful vines; the unsaved sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Knowing that you are different from the world, rejected by the world should be a confirmation in your own mind of your own salvation and righteousness (provided that it is not the only or most prominent one, of course, and that the people who are rejecting you are unsaved and rejecting you only because you are unsaved). It should not cause you to feel left out and want in on Satan’s party, because you should not want to have anything to do with Satan anyway. Instead, it should make you rejoice, and that joy should make you want to go out and do the will of your Father, which is to get as many people to leave Satan’s path to destruction and get on Jacob’s ladder to Heaven as God will allow you to.

Finally, I must say that Christians in America and other western countries need a sense of proportion. Being ignored by Hollywood, mocked by universities, and betrayed by politicians … well compare that to being tortured, raped, and murdered for the faith. That is what Christians throughout history faced. That is what Christians in many Third World and Middle Eastern nations face. And yes, that is what ALL CHRISTIANS will face in the Great Tribulation. So, instead of having a pity party over yourself and speaking more defeat over the Body of Christ, you need to name and claim the victory, of knowing that everything that you suffer for Christ on earth will be counted for righteousness in Heaven. Get to praying for the Christians suffering REAL persecution right now, and for the many more who are certain to suffer it in the future, and that could mean YOU if you are around for the Great Tribulation (the part of it that Christians will have to face anyway) or if, say, God makes you into a missionary in Saudi Arabia, where even owning a Bible is punishable by death. Kind of puts being upset over movies like “Saved” into context, doesn’t it?

Prayer:
Lord in the name of Jesus Christ may I not be a complainer, but instead make me grateful for the salvation and the victory that you have given me. May I not envy the world and its sin, but may I reject it. May I not desire the approval of sinners but rather Your approval and Yours alone, Father God in the name of Jesus Christ. May my only thoughts toward sinners be a desire to cause them to turn to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, please strengthen those who are suffering and struggling under real persecution, and please redeem the minds of those who are struggling with worldliness. Please Father God motivate the true saints to speak out against those who are working to cultivate envy of the world within the Body of Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Deliverance:The demons that operate in this area are envy, worldliness, complaining, pride, false teaching, and selfishness. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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