If you weren't aware, we're having our closing celebration today from 2:30-4pm at the West Hillhurst Community Center. We'd love to see you there.
At our midpoint rally this year, Jojo Ruba from Faith Beyond Belief shared with us a little bit about facing adversity. I asked him if he'd be willing to put a few of those thoughts together for our blog to share with those of you who may have missed it.
There are three lessons Christians need to remember about adversity.
We need to expect adversity. As Christians who are representing a good God to a willfully evil world, we’re not going to be popular. Christians sometimes think our job is to help people feel better but our job is to help people be better.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
Adversity should not come because of bad character but because of good character. There is no command that says though shall be nice but we are to love. True love means we speak truth and are willing to offend.Don’t we do that with those who we love the most?
Facing adversity is a privilege. God only brings adversity to those who can handle it and those who He wants to use to show His power:
“In selecting his witnesses, God looks for loyalty. Some of Daniel’s friends didn’t make it. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were chosen out of a group (Daniel 1:6). The other ten or twenty do not appear on God’s lists. They sink into self-chosen anonymity. They have allowed the world to decide their lifestyle and to set their standards of right and wrong. They have willed to sacrifice their distinctive marks because they can’t bear to be different from the word.
The lion’s den is not for them. The lion’s den is only for those with lion’s den loyalty. We need to ask ourselves, Am I living with the world or as its victim? Am I unnamed on God’s lists, or am I willing to be his chosen representative in some dark place?”
R. Arthur Matthews, Born for Battle