But God is so gracious! When someone gets saved, they are not shown these things immediately. Paul made it clear that when he went to preach the gospel to any people for the first time, he would start off “with milk, and not with meat”! (1 Cor. 3:2)
But as we grow in the Kingdom, God begins giving us the “strong meat” of the gospel (Heb. 5:12). He knows that this is what will make us to become mature sons and daughters in the Kingdom.
Let us see what Hebrews 5:13-14 has to say about this. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
That is putting things as clear as can be. You notice that there are two categories of Christians mentioned there: “babes”, and those that are “of full age”. There are those who cannot suffer the slightest pain for the Kingdom’s sake. But not until one learns to suffer pain can they ‘graduate’ from baby class to adult class.
Unfortunately, there are Christians who have been taught so many wrong things about God’s Kingdom that all they are doing here on earth is practising how they will be singing in heaven!
We will sing all right, but we need to know the Kingdom for what it is.
When we were growing up I always looked up to my eldest brother, John. He was solid as a rock and absolutely dependable. As I grew older, I came to understand why he was so dependable. I saw how he suffered for the rest of us and how he never shunned his responsibility. I remember one incident in particular…
My dad used to drink a lot in those days. One day he came home drunk and as usual we all rushed to greet him at the gate. The old man was so drunk he thought he was inside the toilet. He began to unzip his trousers and we were standing there, our childish faces turned up, waiting in earnest anticipation for the free “factual film” that was about to be shown to us.
Suddenly, John jumped in front of dad and screamed, “Dad, no!”
Dad was still in a stupor and John stood firmly in front of him, did up the old man’s trousers and led him to the toilet.
I never forgot that. It left an indelible mark on my mind. To this day I respect my brother for that single incident.
Spiritually, that is the very reason God wants us to grow up, so we may become mature sons and daughters of God, ready to take our responsibility in the spirit. This can only happen by putting off the body of flesh, which is what all this ‘suffering’ exercise is geared to accomplish in our lives.
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Only a grown-up person can discern both good and evil.
That is why we need to welcome suffering. That is not easy, of course, but it is good. It is beneficial to the soul. I, too, am learning through the experiences that God allows into my life, to appreciate what suffering can do to my spiritual life.
What you say in both parts of this teaching is true. If we live for Jesus the world will hate us. Beware if the world says only nice things. I remember a pastor who was given a citizen of the year award by the government. It troubled me that he accepted it! They didn’t offer it because he preached the hard gospel, obviously. Convenience overtakes loyalty to Jesus’ cause way too often. Be strong in the LORD and the power of God’s will, Friend.
“They didn’t offer it because he preached the hard gospel, obviously.”
I can imagine how true that is. The concept of suffering is an alien one to the world, as it is to worldly-minded Christians.
When we take a stand for the truths of the Word we will at times face opposition and hatred. But thanks to the Lord, those who have been touched by His hand of grace will come to love and appreciate us for the stand we have taken. Lord bless you. Thank you for the posting.
Thanks to you, too, Rob.