Writing from Ephesus, Paul tells the Corinthians that his intended visit with them would be delayed due to great opportunities for witnessing to many of the oppressors of the church who were coming to Ephesus for the purpose of celebrating Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:5-9). Once again, Paul's faith would be tried in the fires of adversity.
I think sometimes we, as Christians, expect God to give us the world on a silver platter. We feel "entitled". We don't believe we ought to suffer or have any difficulties while in this world.
Paul, in the above passage of Scripture, found great opportunity amidst much opposition. If we sit around and wait for "favorable" conditions for witnessing or serving God, we will never leave our homes! When has the world been favorable for witnessing? Jesus was opposed on every hand. Isaiah 53:5 tells us, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him..." The Lord Jesus didn't have an easy time while on this earth. Why should we expect to? He told His disciples, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The church was born in adversity and has endured difficulties throughout it's existence. Going through the fires of adversity has purified the church. The fires of adversity has made the church stronger and more reaffirming.
Adversity is not a hindrance if we are truly committed to God. Antagonism didn't stop Nehemiah's wall from being rebuilt (Nehemiah 6:1-15). Hate didn't stop a woman from witnessing (Luke 7:37). There has always been and will always be those who desire to hinder the work of God. The work of the Lord will go on! The work will go on with or without us. God won't wait forever on us.
I've had people tell me in the past that they were going to "wait on the Lord" regarding particular situations in their lives. My response to those who tell me this has always been, "It's okay to "wait on the Lord", but don't wait too long. He's liable to pass you by while you're still waiting!"
What prompts the child of God to go out and endure some of the hardships we encounter in this world? Paul sums it up very well in 1 Corinthians 5:14 "The love of Christ constraineth us." Because of our love for Jesus and what He means to us in our lives, we step on out in His Spirit and do that which He not only commanded, but expects us to do. Love for Jesus is a powerful motivator. No matter what we face in this life, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-39).
Like Paul's, our faith must past the many tests it will be put through. Our faith must pass the test of time as well as the test of opposition - even from loved ones. Our faith must pass the test of love as well as the test of choice. The tests of repentance and physical afflictions must be successfully passed, as well.
The church is not an asylum for moral cowards. It's not a place for wimps. It's not somewhere to hide. The church is for those who are laying up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20). The church is for those who are laying hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12). The church is for finding righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
Only the "lukewarm" seek favorable circumstances.
Until next time...enjoy the journey!
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