I’d like to repeat this, and you’ll see why.
Wise Paul is teaching us to bite our tongues. He says not to grumble or argue. It is so important on our walk as Christians to be like Jesus. We need to become blameless and pure. We need to be children of God, without fault in a warped and crooked generation.
I don’t know about you, but I feel so crunchy all the time right now. Everywhere I look I see deception and lies. I don’t know who to trust, who is telling the truth, and what to believe. It makes my head spin. The only place I know I can go for truth is the Bible. It is always so comforting to be with Jesus because He is trustworthy, true, loving and the greatest comfort to me right now.
When I feel like everything around me is so dark and scary, I grab my Bible and pray. Paul says, if we are obedient and don’t grumble about our circumstances, we will shine like stars in the sky. We will be so different. That’s what I’d like to be. I want to be so different from my old self. I want to be a beacon of hope for people. I want to be so different from the world that others want what I have. But I don’t want them to see my glory. I want it to be God’s glory. If we hold firmly to the Word of Life, we can see through the disasters of this world. Even if we have to sacrifice, we can rejoice.
I feel that way right now. I feel so full of trust and faith in the Lord. No matter what the outcome of this recall, I just know that God will be glorified. There are so many blessings all around us. I know one thing is for sure, I do not look to a man to satisfy my needs for safety. I know all of us are sinful and flawed. It is not going to be a governor that leads me to heaven. If God needs more persecution to draw people closer to Him, then so be it. Who am I to stand in the way of divine wisdom. I encourage all of you to think the same way. We should never, ever feel angry at God.
Paul encourages us to rejoice in the blessings of others. God is so good and merciful. He proves His Love for us in blessing the lives of others. It is so important to join in joyful fellowship when you see others receive blessings from the Lord. Recently a close friend of mine got her medical exemption accepted by the hospital she works at. On top of that, her husband just got a massive promotion for work. Their family was blessed. Her response after sharing the good news with me was this, “no matter what, Katie, I love Jesus and I would be praising Him.” That’s true love.
This friend has struggled. She is a nurse and volunteered her time as a mom, to work extra hours in the Covid unit, all through the last year and a half. She normally works in the Intensive Care Unit for Infants. She dedicated her efforts wherever she was needed, saving so many lives. However, just a few weeks ago, in spite of her personal views on the jab, and having naturally acquired immunity to the virus, was told she would lose her job and get no pay if she didn’t take the shot. Coercion.
Coercion. Coercion. Coercion.
She held the line. How many people didn’t want the jab? I’d like to know. How many people took it anyway, so they could feed their families. They fell into the trap of coercion. They were never going to lose their job, but the threats, the shaming, the pressure, the hate – all made them cave in. How many people found out that their medical and religious exemptions would have held strong if they had just held the line? How many people were lied to? How many lives were violated by a medical experiment? Coercion.
Paul tells us we need to STOP putting our confidence in the FLESH. He says, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!” (ch 3 vs 2) How many of us are confident in medicine and not in Jesus? How many of us are submissive to MAN and not our Lord? How many of us will regret not holding the line when commanded by the Lord? How many of us would have just got the MARK when the Antichrist said you can’t eat, act, or live without it. It’s shocking.
I think that’s perhaps part of the gift of the Tribulation. Christians who have accepted Jesus must be taken away, or else we would crumble and just get that mark. We are so weak. So wretched.
Paul reflects back on his life and realized what is valuable to him. What used to be considered gain is now a loss for the purpose of Christ. Everything is loss. He realizes that Jesus is so much better than what the world has to offer. We realize that now, don’t we? We realize that everything that we may find hopeful in this world is nothing. Paul lost everything, he lost honor, status, all worldly pleasures, and he did it gladly. He said it was nothing but garbage compared to his life in Christ. How full he must have felt to say that. Amazing. Jesus is just better.
You can’t ever be good enough, for Jesus. The Jewish law tried so desperately to do that. It could never be achieved, so they continually had to sacrifice animals which only covered up their sins. Like sweeping sin under a rug, it’s still there. However, Paul taught that the blood of Christ ATONES our sin. It is gone. Wiped clean. The blood of Jesus takes our dirty sin and removes it from existence. It’s GONE.
When you lose all earthly desires, you gain Christ. You find yourself IN Him. Immersed in Jesus. Constantly abiding in Him and Him in you. We can learn to crave righteousness that is found only in Jesus. Through faith, faith must be our base. We must crave knowing Jesus better. I love that I feel that more and more each day. That my day is not full unless I am praying and reading His Word. It’s a new and special relationship.
When I try to understand today’s reality, I end up going into the vortex of the unknown. That is where the enemy is waiting to attack. He is so sneaky. He attacks with fear, lies and confusion. I am sent into a desperate rage when I take my eyes off Jesus. I sink like Peter when I start looking at the waves. Matthew 14:22-33
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will – Casting Crowns
But! When I crave Jesus, and rest my heart and mind in His Power and His Purpose, I find a new and revived Resurrection of my Soul. I am found new and alive and ready for whatever comes next. Focus.
We need to consider it a blessed honor to participate in the suffering of Christ. We must become like Jesus. We all are going to die, but then we participate in the conquering of death and we will spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven. The reward is seemingly ours, but Jesus states that it is His, how humbling. How much love does he have for us friends, how much love is that?
We must continually love Jesus back, because of that great love He has for us. It only makes sense doesn’t it?! We must continually respond to His love, never fully attaining the goal of the life and work of Jesus. And that’s the best part of being a Christian, it’s never boring, it can never be done, it’s always exciting and new. Thank you Jesus for life with you. You are better, greater and more full than anything this world can offer. I am so thankful to no longer be of this world.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without [a]complaining and disputing,[b] 15 that you may become blameless and [c]harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your [d]state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, [e]not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
All for Christ
3 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship [f]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain[g] to the resurrection from the dead.