As our time on this earth comes to an end, I often ponder and pray about what the Western Church will look like when persecution starts to rear it’s head just as it did during the days of the early church? I am so distressed at the thought due to our unwillingness to die to the life we hold so dear. Though we read and gather for family devotions, home school our children, attending meetings and other “churchy” activities, church membership somehow has replaced the great commission. Holy living is looked upon as burdensome or extreme, and many of us refuse to apply the Word of God to EVERY area our daily lives. We lack the power that the early church has. This power; the Holy Spirit; enabled the apostles to declare the Gospel without fear, heal the afflicted and win battles with demons. This is also the same Power that releases the slave from his bondage of his tenancies to rebel against a loving and just God. This Power delivers the person that is addicted to drugs, porn, and other self-destructive addictions. He is the third person of the Godhead; and in many cases is most often ignored. He is what we live to…and it is he that helps us to die…..daily.
Since the church become somewhat a Sunday morning counseling session, no one really considers that they still can rebel against the Father. Especially after salvation..but we do…and we do every day. Paul’s example in Romans and his dissertation at the end of his ministry exposes this part of his journey in Philippians. Paul lived a very narrow road, much like all the others that the Lord called for great service to His people, especially the prophets….they were truly the forerunners for all of us and Christ was the ultimate example for where we all must go. Death. Are you willing to die for the sake of a Life in Christ? Is your expectation of this life’s happiness outweigh the eternal peace and joy that we shall have if we endure?
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.(1 Cor. 15:19)
And he later continues…..
My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
This is a hope, the hope of an eternal life that cannot be shaken or taken away by government, circumstance, or our own mistakes. This hope gives me the courage to die to me.