Thursday, July 9, 2009

Daily - 7/9/09

Matthew 10:16-23

16 "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

17 But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues,

18 and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.

19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.

20 For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.

22 You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.

23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Has the world really changed much over the last 2,000 years?

Of course we have advances in science, technology, medicine, and all that stuff. Here in America we live a life of convenience that couldn't have been imagined even 100 years ago. That's fine, I like the conveniences. I couldn't send this message without them.

Jesus says beware of people. Does that still apply? More than a billion people in this world live in a situation where if you make almost any type of public show for Jesus, you put your livelihood at risk. Millions of those live under old school persecution, where scourging (and worse) still happens.

We're lucky here, we don't have that stuff going on. We live in the most socially and scientifically advanced nation in the world. Do we still need to beware of people? What happens to people today who stick their necks out for Jesus? What's your experience?

Do you ever get into conversations about faith with your friends? If you do, what happens? I'll tell you what happens to me. People get really uncomfortable, really quickly. Our advanced society has largely convinced ourselves that there is no "truth" when it comes to spiritual matters. Just think about that idea. It completely defies everything you've learned since birth. In everything else there is truth. We can work medical miracles and build bridges and fly airplanes and walk on the freaking MOON because we've discovered truth in the world.

But spiritual matters have become off limits. We allow ourselves to think that if someone's beliefs "make them happy" -- which is really just a euphemism for "allow themselves to justify the way they want to live" -- then they're "right for you." Seriously, what the heck kind of crazy idea is that? If I don't "accept" gravity, does that mean it doesn't apply to me, and I get to fly around?

I know I'm on a tangent here, but what I'm trying to say is that people haven't changed. Stepping out for Jesus is still like going out as sheep among wolves, even here in America. You're somewhat nuts if you've committed to ANY kind of belief system. You're "intolerant" if you think there's actual truth in the spiritual world. We've come to a point where you're the enemy of society if you claim that Christianity is true. If you think THAT, you must keep those beliefs completely "separated" from your public life.

Do we still need to beware of people? Like Jesus said in verse 16, we still need to be as shrewd as serpents, and simple as doves.