The Believer’s Nightmare

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet. 2:18-25

The believer’s worst nightmare is to find him or her defending himself in time of suffering, and particularly when it is wrongful suffering. The most terrifying thing that can happen to a believer is not to meet the devil face to face. On the contrary, it is to find him/herself unable to humble himself as God requires him/her to do. This is the worst thing that a believer can experience.

The key verse in the passage above is v. 19:

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”

Notice the words:

– “thankworthy”

– “conscience toward God”

– “endure”

– “grief”

– “suffering wrongfully”.

We are to take wrongful suffering patiently. That is God’s will for us as His children. There are people who teach that believers should not pass through an iota of trouble. That is not what the Bible says. Such a gospel is from the devil.

What exactly does it mean to “endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”? It means not to seek to set matters right when we are being persecuted wrongfully. It means not to react bitterly when wrongfully attacked, and not to seek vengeance. There are many believers who have a vengeance mentality. They walk about with thoughts of revenge for real and imagined wrongs. In every situation they want their pound of flesh.

But notice in this passage of scripture that it is when we take wrongful suffering “patiently” that we become “acceptable with God”. “Acceptable to God” means pleasing God by doing His will. It means becoming His children, real time, because it is the nature of God to endure suffering and thus to defeat evil with good. It is when we bless, instead of cursing in contrary situations, that we find ourselves doing God’s will. It is when, from our hearts, we do well to our persecutors, and do not repay evil for evil.

We are to seek to do well and to respond positively in the most contrary situations.

When they came to arrest Jesus, the Bible says that Peter took out his sword and cut off one of the Chief Priest’s servant’s ear. Peter’s heart was bitter – and faithless. But Jesus’ heart was different from Peter’s. In the first place, Jesus had no element of bitterness or vengeance in Him. Secondly, His heart was filled with kindness and mercy. And so, even as He knew the sufferings that these soldiers would put Him through, yet Jesus could only bless and do them well. He took the servant’s ear and put it back. He even took the trouble to inform us that the servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus made Malchus one of His special friends! Jesus loved those men!!

Then, after they had tortured and crucified Him, as He died on the cross, He could only think of blessing them. He said,

… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Lk. 23:34

Jesus was a Man who was acceptable to God. That means He pleased God highly.

But when we begin bad-mouthing our persecutors or murmuring about our wrongful sufferings or bad situations, or entertaining thoughts of vengeance, God is not pleased at all. The reason is that these attitudes are of the flesh. It is the flesh that likes defending itself. God does not defend Himself. On the contrary, He gives out His life. The Bible states of Jesus:

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (v. 24-25)

Jesus did not defend Himself when He was wrongly accused and persecuted to death. He willingly gave away His life that we might live.

Jesus did not carry any grudges against anyone. We are always carrying grudges, one way or another. But Jesus did not do that. Instead, the Bible says, Jesus “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (v.23).

That means there was peace in His heart even as His rights were being taken away from Him. There was no grumbling or murmurings from Him. From the bottom of His heart, Jesus would not lift a finger to defend Himself. Instead, praise and thanksgiving flowed from Him towards God. And a good heart towards His enemies. Everything that Jesus did was acceptable with God.

I thank God that He has allowed me to live to see these truths. During the course of my life, I have fought and fought – for my rights. But God is not pleased with such attitudes because they are of the flesh, and carnal. I have discovered, much to my distress, that there is no worse place to be than when you are not pleasing God.

I cannot please God because I am Zakaria Mwita. God is not pleased with names or personalities. I cannot please God because people call me “Man of God”. I can only please God by doing His will. It is my prayer that God will give me the grace to never open my mouth or do anything to defend myself when I am suffering wrongfully. That is the time of my testing, and I can only do only ONE thing to pass that test: to carry a good heart.

[Below: A boon: The new face of public transportation in Dar es Salaam City]

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The Sin of Complaining

[Warning: Long post. But I encourage you to read on].

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Philippians 2:14-15 

Recently the Lord has been speaking to me clearly and unequivocally about the sin of complaining. Now, I know I have written on Philippians 2:14-15 in an earlier post. But the Lord keeps hammering away at our evil attitudes, so I am not surprised. 

The Lord has been showing me how much He hates complaining. And that includes, and especially so, where a clear wrong has been done to me. (If during our “peace time” moments we are going off like an iron factory, how much more when we have been wronged!) 

The Lord showed me about our Lord Jesus Christ. He led me to 1 Pet. 2:21-24, and particularly to the place where it says, “Neither was guile found in his mouth”

I read that again, “Neither was guile found in his mouth”. 

How could Jesus have walked this earth and have no guile found in His mouth? Not one unseemly word. Not one word of complaint, even when intolerable injustices were done to Him! That is an utter impossibility!

But right there it says Jesus did. Actually, Jesus did more than that, if that were possible. He pleased God perfectly

When I read this I cried tears. And I knelt down and repented. I repented like never before. And I asked God, “Where is this grace?” For it was clear to me that I could never pull this off by my own strength; and I knew that neither had Jesus. 

In the Old Testament book of Zechariah, the Prophet Zechariah had a vision: “6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” (Zec. 4:6-7) 

In Zechariah’s vision, there would be no impossibility –referring to the Godly lifestyle – because everything would be accomplished by God’s grace. 

So we know that it was not by His strength that Jesus accomplished this, it was by the grace of God. Jesus walked in the perfect grace of God. And nothing was impossible with Him. 

But notice, it was God’s grace. It was not Jesus’ grace, for when He was here on earth Jesus was perfect man. (The Bible says in Philippians 2 that Jesus put off His Godly form when He descended to earth). The grace therefore that He had had to come from another source: it came from God Himself. 

So what was it about Jesus that made Him so “acceptable” to God that God could give Him all this grace? God gave Jesus so much grace that “no guile was found in His mouth”! 

Probably we need to look into our hearts. This is because the Apostle James says that God gives grace to the humble. 

Did you ever notice that when God said of Jesus, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17) Jesus was thirty years old? So what had been going on? God had been observing Jesus all these years. He had been testing His heart. He had seen Jesus’ obedience. He had seen His humble heart. 

Indeed, the Bible gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ attitude of heart in Luke 2:51-52: “51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them… 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” 

No humbler man ever walked this earth! 

Probably we need to confess to the pride in our hearts. Pride is one of the biggest barriers to God giving us His grace. Not that God does not want to give His grace even when we are proud, but our pride acts as a barrier preventing God’s grace from penetrating into our hearts. 

I am sure that if we have humble hearts, God will give us grace. He will give us the grace to not complain, grumble or dispute. 

(Disputings refers to an attitude of heart whereby we cannot accept things “lying down”. Disputings is another big problematic area with we grumblers). 

I thank God for His clear word. And I thank Him even more for giving me the grace to repent and seek to guard my heart against this very loathful sin. 

I wonder – just wondering, mind you; not that I have arrived there – I am just wondering what kind of person I were to be if no guile was to be found in my mouth. And to think that God’s grace is there for me to arrive at that exact place! 

I THANK YOU, JESUS!! 

[Below: Happy is the man in whose mouth no guile is found]

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The Simplicity of Grace

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world… Phil. 2:14-15

The Apostle Paul is undoubtedly one of the greatest figures in history. All you need to do to prove this is to type “Paul” or “Apostle Paul” or “Saint Paul” into Google search or Youtube, and you will have material that you will be reading or watching or listening to for the rest of your life. That’s how important Paul is to history. The fame – or infamy – of Paul rests entirely on the fact that he attempted to bring about an understanding of or a ‘revelation’ of the grace of God. There are many Christians, even today, who are bothered by the amount of freedom that Paul allowed into the church, as well as many of his other teachings.

Now, considering the earth-shaking repercussions that Paul’s teachings have created in the last 2,000 years (in one place in the scriptures they declared that he and those with him had “turned the world upside down” – Acts 17:6, the Apostle Peter warned of “unlearned and unstable” men who would try to wrestle with Paul’s teachings – 2 Peter 3:16; and those were still early days); considering all his, you would expect Paul’s writings to comprise some of the most advanced, complex and thought-twisting doctrines found anywhere on the universe. This should be more so when you consider, as I have said, that Paul’s distinction has to do with trying to ‘reveal’ a subject as inscrutable and ‘philosophical’ as God.

And yet when one reads Paul’s writings, it is surprising to find that he wrote the simplest expositions on the nature of God and then proceeded to give us the most mundane instructions on how to live out that God-nature here on earth. The writings and directions of Paul are so simple that even a child can get to know exactly what Paul is talking about. They do not require anyone who attempts to understand them to have ever seen even the inside of a classroom.

Although Paul was a very learned man, he did not use his education or his mental capabilities to understand or explain God. He used his heart instead. All that we require to understand God is a recipient heart. Or, as the Bible says, a believing heart, a heart of faith.

Let us take the above scripture in Philippians as an example. In the context that Paul wrote this scripture, another word for “disputings” would be “rivalry”. And for “murmurings” we could substitute “complainings”. Both words speak of discontent.

In effect, therefore, this scripture says that when we live out our Christian lives without complainings and rivalry – that’s a contented heart – we will become blameless and harmless, which is how God’s children are meant to be.

Even in our basic human vocabulary, “blameless” and “harmless” are fairly simple words to understand. You can teach those words to children in Sunday school and they will understand exactly what you are telling them.

These two words are the most beautiful words in God’s Kingdom. They are words we need to meditate long on. The character they embody is what we have been called to embrace.

And yet, again, these two words are amongst the most difficult for us to accomplish. Living a blameless and harmless life might sound easy but it really is not. You don’t have to carry a gun to be harmful, y’know. Living that kind of life demands that we take up our cross and follow Christ. In other words, it requires a heart of grace. It is a spiritual thing, not a mental one.

To “lay my heart bare” as one blogger put it, I  must say that personally I have a problem with this scripture. I find I am still a good complainer. Woe is me! I pray for God’s grace!

Let me end with a testimony. I am proud to be associated with a certain simple, uneducated lady (who has now gone to be with the Lord) who many years ago took to task some young men who were backbiting their pastor in her presence. What actually happened was that there was a problem in the church. Seemingly out of nowhere, as it sometimes does happen, someone rose up with a grudge against the pastor and, through whisperings and murmurings, his discontent soon spread to some other unstable souls within the church.

The three young men who went to visit this old lady on this particular day happened to be in the group that had ganged against the pastor. As the dear sister prepared dinner for them, the young trio began to talk about the pastor. Totally ignoring the ‘inconsequential’ old woman, they ‘dug’ at the pastor to their satisfaction.

Well, these guys had made the mistake of their life. After eating their supper, one of them put on his religious mask and said in the most pious voice, “Dear, beloved brethren, let us now pray.”

At which the old lady said, “No, please, you cannot pray in here. What are you going to pray about, seeing that you have been back-biting the pastor all evening?”

The young men left deeply embarrassed. Inevitably, the story ‘went viral’, and through that single incident many parishioners were forced to reconsider the condition of their hearts. What followed was a wave of repentance within the church and God brought healing to that church. An old, unlearned woman had taught the church what Christianity was all about.

Today that church is one of the strongest amongst all our churches.

We may be very intelligent and know many things about God. We may have degrees, diplomas and many other exalted paperwork all to do God. We could know the Bible inside out, we could even manage to be reading it through once or twice each year. We could write new versions of the Bible, and books. We could be internationally- acclaimed preachers, and have big ministries. We could be all of these things and more.

All these things are commendable to the highest degree. If we can do them – and we should – so much the better for the Kingdom. But on a strictly personal level with God what is required of us is something far simpler than that. God requires a simple, humble heart above everything else. He requires a heart of grace. All else should come from that. Whatever proceeds out of such a heart is acceptable with God.

It sounds mind-twisting (and it should), but the truly deep things of the Spirit comprise a life simply and humbly lived.