April 2018

April 2018

Ron wrote:

Blessing in persecution

Historically it has been proven that the church is never better than when it is being persecuted. In our time it is not so much a physical persecution but one of the spirit.

 Attending the funeral of my late friend Rudi de Ridder, I noticed how few people are standing up to the challenges we face in this country. For the persecution we face is of threats of losing our property or suffering in drought, being pushed of the road by taxis and losing your job. I do not get out a lot, and driving to Johannesburg and listening to all these people and the complaints of bad roads and hospitals, terrible service in government departments the arrogance and pride. The sewerage plants are broken and my friend cannot be cremated because not one of the crematoriums is working. This all sounds like persecution to me.

It is a persecution of the mind. However there is a blessing to be had in persecution.

Mat 5:11-12:  “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Since we have learnt that our true fight is not against the flesh but the spirit many trials have come against us.  Since we realized that self-control is the horizon of a Christian we learn to stay above in the midst of crisis’s that come in the world. There is nothing that stirs up the devil more than the preaching of the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that we must die to the flesh and rise in the spirit daily as we were once again reminded with Passover. As long as we preach this truth the devil does not rest, enraged and roaring, he is causing trouble everywhere.  During these times we are growing in the spirit. Isa 38:17:  “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness.”

There is nothing sadder than watching people without a goal in life. They only have a past, no future. Here we have a chance to live by faith and please God with our faith. Guarding the heart in these times is looking up and growing in the spirit as we practice self-control.

We are not blessed because we are persecuted. We obtain the blessing when we overcome by patience.

1 Peter 2:18-19 -20 {my translation}. If you are being ill treated, endure grief and you remain patient for the sake of your conscience –then God is pleased with you!

For the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering, self control, discipline and so forth.

When we overcome the natural sinful way we would have reacted in the past, by living by the fruit of the Spirit, the result is blessing.

We do all this for the sake of having a clear conscience. So that we may remain and be the domain of the Holy Spirit. We must not give in to rage or self pity for instance. We crucify the flesh and then live in the spirit. In the past I would have reacted with my anger but since the Holy Spirit taught me that this is the way I lose the blessing, I have learnt to die to anger daily and when those situations arise where I would have used my anger, I now overcome the bad thing by crucifying it daily and calling upon the blood of Jesus.  I now overcome “the flesh”.

Now I walk out with a Christ mind in the power of the Holy Ghost to speak peace and wisdom. When I overcome in this way I experience a pat on the shoulder! “Well done!! You have overcome!” The result is blessing and confidence towards God.

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