“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34
All over the world, Christians are suffering for their faith. I hear from some via email because they receive this daily devotional. I often sit at my desk, read their stories, and tearfully ask God to give them strength in the fire.
Oppressors don’t have to be soldiers beating down their door in order to take them away to be killed or tortured. The ones who persecute can be family members, fellow employees, and even children who strain against a parent’s obedience to Jesus.
Jesus said that He came not to bring peace but a sword. Devotion to Him will create chasms in some relationships. These words from Jesus can feel shocking if I cling exclusively to other verses about Jesus being the Prince of Peace. Are these principles contradictory? Not at all. Jesus is Peace and He will bring peace to those in disharmony when they seek His face and embrace His truth in unity. But there are just as many times when following Christ offends those closest to me. When that happens, I suffer for righteousness sake and Jesus’ words are an clarifying for me.
This devotional reaches out to you today if you are one who suffers in any way because you love Jesus and are unapologetic when you declare that you are His disciple. When the fire of love and devotion cause you to walk upstream against those around you, know that Jesus sees you and will reward you. As a wife, you may suffer the scorn and ridicule of an unbelieving husband. As a husband, you may experience the cold shoulder of a wife who wishes your values were more temporal. As a child, you may feel disowned because your passion for Jesus alters the future your parents desire for you. As an employee, you feel excluded by everyone around you who are all too willing to play corporate politics. As a pastor, you feel that your job is in jeopardy because the majority of your congregation wants feel-good-messages rather than solid Bible teaching. If you live wearing your power lightly, dispense with the guilt. Even Jesus’ love just repels those who are spiritually blind.
Breathe deeply as the Spirit breathes over you today. Do it, not once, but as a way of life. Make your momentary prayer, “Have mercy on me. Give me Your grace.”
I can so often look to those who suffer more than me and minimize my own needs. Jesus, I come to you today; aching, needing Your touch. Amen