Do Not Be Surprised

Do Not Be Surprised

“Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” 1 John 3:12-15 NIV

Do you love your brothers and sisters? That is why you are so hated. You and I live in a world where the love of most has grown cold. (Matthew 24:12) We live in a world where most have the spirit of Cain who hated and murdered his brother. Only a few have the spirit of Abel who loved God and his brother. Yes, it’s that cut and dry. People either belong to God or they belong to the Devil:

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” 1 John 3:10 NIV

To God there are only 2 classes of people: those who are already dead, or those who have passed from death to life through their faith in Jesus Christ. If you are truly alive you will always be attacked and harassed by the walking dead because of your faith in Jesus. If you are never attacked you need to examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5) The Bible says that all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted:

“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 NLT

But remember, when you follow Jesus and love the brethren (and even your enemies) this shows that you have passed from death to life. You are alive indeed. You have eternal life! How great is it then that you have the privilege of suffering for Jesus Christ and are being persecuted because of Him:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 NIV

“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” Philippians 1:29 NLT

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” 2 Timothy 2:11-12 KJV

Jesus wants us to turn our focus on what being persecuted for Him means not on how it feels. And I can tell you from experience that when we do this it doesn’t feel as bad anymore. But when we focus on what others are doing to us our problems get magnified like looking through a magnifying glass, and it hurts way more. To illustrate, take a small dime and hold it close to your face. It’s now big because you have it up close in focus. Now move that dime as far away from your eyes as your arm will extend. It’s quite small now, isn’t it? Because it’s out of focus. That’s how troubles are. Whatever we focus on the most becomes bigger. And anything out of focus becomes significantly smaller. You and I must learn to focus on the right things and not on the wrong things. Let’s focus on how big our God is by holding Him up close to our eyes; by studying and meditating on His words, His faithful dealings with us in the past, and His awesome promises.

You believe God, right? You believe that He can’t lie, correct? Then listen to what God says about our troubles:

“For our LIGHT AND MOMENTARY troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV

God says that our troubles are light and momentary. So if they feel super heavy, and like they will never end, can it be because we are focussing on them, or viewing them the wrong way? Shouldn’t we pray to God to give us His view, His perspective when it comes to our trials? He will help us if we ask Him. (James 1:5-8)

Everything I’m encouraging you to do I am guilty of not doing. Like you I am learning and fighting to do God’s will every day. I also know from experience how terrible things go when I don’t obey God and keep worrying about stuff. I don’t want to be stuck on stupid so I’m fighting hard to do things God’s way, the much better way. When you think about it, is it wise to compound problems we already have with another heavy load called WORRY?

JESUS SAID DON’T WORRY

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

One of the most coolheaded people I know is my son. He is not easily excited about anything. There are times I wish I was more like him. Recently I was facing a trial and pondering the way my son handles things. Then I heard a small still voice inside me say, “You taught him well. Now do what you taught him to do. Don’t worry.” Guys we must fight through prayer and study of God’s word to keep our eyes focussed on Jesus Christ, not on our problems. They will appear bigger than they really are if we focus on them. We will be doing ourselves much harm if we don’t obey Jesus who says, “Don’t worry.”

In conclusion I would like to leave you with a quote I once heard on someone’s voicemail greeting. The lady wished whoever was calling her a good day and said, “Instead of looking at your problems and how big they are, look at your problems and tell them how big your God is.” Wow! That stuck with me for years. It’s one of the greatest quotes I’ve ever heard because it agrees with something Jesus said. It goes like this:

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 NIV

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