Pastor Christopher Brock
January 6, 2024
Acts 5:41, New International Version
“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
At the majority of churches today, especially in the United States, the gospel is presented in a very beautiful way with a very beautiful message. We often hear statements preached about how when we come to know Christ, we will have joy and all the hard times will be behind us. About how the Lord will help us to clean up our lives and we will be able to serve Him, and our lives will be full of peace and joy. While I know and experience the peace and joy of the Lord each and every day, this does not mean that life is not full of challenges and trials. Some of these trials may come daily and others may be larger and span the course of weeks, months, or even years. These trials may come in the form of financial difficulties, health issues, or relationship problems. I have seen and spoken with many Christians who look at what is going on in their lives and lament at how they thought that once they turned to Christ, all of the problems would disappear. They end up questioning why it is happening to them and if they have made some mistake. Many thoughts enter their mind. Maybe they aren’t truly saved? Maybe they are still committing some type of sin and thus God is pouring His judgment upon them? The possibilities keep going through their mind because the life of peace and tranquility that they heard talked about is not happening.
Being a follower of Christ, someone who believes in Jesus and does what Jesus tells them to do, is not easy. In fact, I could very well argue that truly laying your life down and giving complete control over to Him will lead to a life of great challenge. Jesus Himself told us in direct and clear words that the world will hate us because of Him and that, as a result we will be persecuted and ridiculed. Now, I do not recall too many sermons being preached in recent years about how those who profess Christ will be persecuted and hated, but the reality is that is exactly what happens. You see, there is a battle going on in this world and when we profess Christ and begin to live our lives for Him, we enter into the battlefield. We become a target on the enemy’s radar, and he will begin putting together a plan of attack. He knows that if we live our lives for Christ and others see the change that takes place, he will lose more ground. As a result, attacks begin to come, and trails begin to hit us. The enemy wants to make us turn our eyes away from Christ and begin to look at the circumstances. If he can successfully do this and we begin to take our focus off of Christ, then the enemy will have accomplished his goal. He does not want our testimony to be heard, he does not want others to see Christ in our lives, and he does not want our lives to be transformed by the Word of God. However, these are the very things that we must use to overcome him. The Bible tells us that we will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. That means that when we profess Christ and tell others how Christ has touched us and how we have been remade, we will overcome the lies of the enemy. The Bible also tells us that the Lord will keep the minds of those who focus upon Him in perfect peace as they place their trust in Him.
The trials that we face may be difficult but when we place our focus upon Him and His truth, He will set us free. Today, understand that when you follow Christ you will also face trials of many kinds and some of those trials may seem as though they will overwhelm you. Remember however, no matter what is happening or what the situation may look like, always stay focused upon the Lord and place your trust in Him. He has a good and perfect plan already and all we need to do is trust and obey Him.