Hanging Tough for Jesus

Hanging Tough for Jesus

The book of Acts, chapters 21-23, are always challenging to me. These chapters give a detailed account of Paul’s transition from a traveling missionary to an incarcerated prisoner. Or. as Paul said in Philemon 1:9 (ESV), “yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—

I know there is much to be learned from these chapters, but I also know much is difficult for me to grasp. The truths here must be mined like gold; they are not gems laying on the ground. I do see the overarching wisdom and power of God working through an obedient life. Paul’s obedience gave him time to listen to the Holy Spirit and write. It’s because of Paul’s new assignment that we have much of the New Testament.

Submitting to Leadership

Paul submitted to the Church’s leadership even though he knew they were acting out of fear. Paul could have dug his heels in and “righteously” preached “freedom” and the sin of fear; he did not. He submitted, paid money out of his pocket to conform to the direction of the leadership and, despite being given the option by the Holy Spirit to flee, Paul stayed on course and let God’s plan unfold. Paul didn’t call fire down from heaven. Paul was able to submit and flow with the sequence of events because he was confident in his Savior.

Amid the rioting and just after his beating, Paul found an opportunity to preach with boldness. Again, Paul demonstrated his trust in Jesus. He didn’t allow himself to submit to fear but, instead, saw the circumstance as a tool Jesus gave him to further the Gospel of Jesus. That’s hanging tough.

Few, if any of us, have faced similar, lengthy testing of our faith in Jesus as Paul endured. Nevertheless, we all should be walking close enough to our Savior to be ready, should He ask us to suffer for Him.

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

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Wasted for the Lord

Man in an empty room with chairs

Watchman Nee was a very active Christian minister, author, church planter, teacher, and established the movement for local churches in China. When the Communist Revolution took place, he was persecuted and imprisoned where he lived the last 20 years of his life. One of the truths he wanted believers to understand was the value of being wasted for Jesus. He would preach, “It is a blessed thing to be wasted for the Lord.”

Watchman Nee is not the only Christian leader to teach the value of being wasted for our Lord. Richard Wurmbrand, the author of “Tortured for Christ” and founder of “Voice of the Martyrs,” was a Jewish-Christian that lived in Romania during the same approximate time as Nee. He, too, was an active Christian minister and author that was imprisoned and tortured by the Romanian Communists. Alone in his prison cell, Wurmbrand would preach sermons.

One of the most challenging requests our Savior can ask of us is to wait. Waiting feels like being wasted. God has saved us, commissioned us, and gifted us. We’re supposed to be in the battle. Why would Jesus put us on the shelf and not use us? Or, even more difficult for American Christians is actually to be wasted; to be in a local church that won’t preach the gospel but our Lord doesn’t give us the liberty to leave or to have a ministry taken from us, and we’re left with a hole in our hearts and our lives.

God is sovereign, so He seldom answers our “why.” Part of being saved is our death and regeneration. This world is no longer our home. So, it is a blessing whenever Jesus uses us and if that use is to be wasted on Him, how marvelous!

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3-4 NIV)

Photo by Patricia Valério on Unsplash

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