Monday, July 22, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 14

Because there always seem to be negative connotations to the notions of persecution, tribulation, or trials, it is quite easy to make the intellectual leap and begin disseminating the false notion that persecution or tribulation in all their varied forms are no longer for the children of God, and they will never have to endure such things.

Granted, the only places in the world one can still make such claims are America, and perhaps a handful of other countries which as yet are not seeing persecution, but for the rest of the world, those suffering and bleeding and dying for the cause of Christ, such claims are downright ludicrous.

Christians today are being imprisoned, tortured, beheaded, and set on fire because they will not deny their Lord and King, yet some pampered, over-compensated, and woefully incompetent self-titled shepherds of God’s flock continue to insist that if you are called upon to endure the loss of all things it is because you did not have enough faith to hold on to the things you lost.

It is troubling that so few believers see the glory in trials, and the exaltation of tribulation. It is not in the trials or tribulations that we glory, but in the hand of our God and Father evident in the midst of them all.

Whether the flesh likes it, or bristles against the notion, we must prepare for the eventuality of having to endure for the cause of Christ, and yes, even suffer the loss of all things.

If all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, then the only way for us to circumvent persecution will be to no longer desire to live godly in Him.

If our desire continues to be godliness in Christ, then preparing for eventual persecution is a given, a must, and not just an option or something we can put off until it is too late.

If we’ve added perseverance to our spiritual house, we are well on our way to preparing for hardship, knowing that if we possess perseverance we will endure to the end as we are called to do.

2 Peter 1:5-7, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

With each virtue we lay atop another, we begin to see our spiritual house take shape. We begin to see the details and can readily imagine what it will look like when it is all done, and it is a wondrous thing to behold.

Far too many individuals get caught up on where they are now, rather than where they will be when their journey is finished, and when the Great Builder has finished his construct.

Where I live in Romania there are many homes in various stages of completion. Like every other nation in the world Romania too has seen an economic downturn, and so some of these homes have been in this selfsame state for years and years. People just ran out of money, or energy, or both, and abandoned the building of their home leaving it to the snow and the rain and the brambles that in time will overtake their territory once more.

When we stop building our spiritual house, it stops being built. No one can build it for us, no one can come and start laying the bricks and mortar of our spiritual home on our behalf, we must put in the effort, we must put in the time, and we must have the single-minded focus to complete that which has been started, trusting the plans of the Architect and following His guidelines to the letter.

We are called upon to give all diligence. We are called upon to add to faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control and so on, and we must continue to add until it is finished, until it is complete, and until it is habitable.

Some people give up halfway through the building process. They start out excited and with great hopes, but then the labor of it all, the stress of it all, the self-denial of it all starts getting to them, and they abandon their project. What happens when a spiritual house is abandoned halfway through is that the weeds and brambles and thistles that once grew there return, not all at once but a little every day, until what you have is half a wall covered over with weeds.

It is neither as it was nor as it ought to be, an unnatural mixture and amalgam of the sacred and the profane.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such beautiful imagery; the spiritual house. Neglected, the kudzu vines take over rapidly, covering the doors and windows, keeping out fresh air and light, and the weight of them eventually crushes the structure itself. So too, when we continue to overlook our Life in Christ daily, cleaning the porch of dry and dead leaves, washing the windows so the True Light can come in, applying the cutting tools to the creeping vines of sloth and lies, we shall be overcome by the weight of the creeping weed/vines of Satanic intent which inexorably destroy what God would build. Thank You Lord, for the many mansions You have for us in our Life to Come; Thank You for helping us discern the deplorable condition of the House we now occupy, so we can go about the task of refreshments. Thank You, brother Michael