Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sheep don't normally survive in the presence of wolves!

Matthew 10:16-18 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.
Karaomjung sheep
This isn't exactly one of Jesus' promises that we learn as little kids or one of those promised that we cling to as adults. But I'm trying to do a better job seeing Jesus' words without the lens of what I "want" to see.  I don't really want to think of myself as a sheep with a promise of persecution. But the fact is Jesus gave this as a promise to his disciples. Of which I strive to be one. I am to be like a sheep. But this seems not very good for the sheep, uncomfortable and possibly dangerous actually. I'd like to cling to the promise from Jesus that once we decide to follow him it is all comfortable. But if I'm honest, I can't find that one. The opposite seem true actually. Repeatedly, He seems to promise that impending persecution isn't merely a possibility but for those that obey, a certainty. If I'm striving for comfort, am I actually being disobedient?!  What if the command to be as sheep among wolves is to be the calling of every person who is a real disciple?  Is there a way to be faithful and comfortable at the same time? Can  we be both obedient and safe?  If the answer to these last two are no, does that mean that those who are comfortable and safe are not true disciples?
As much as I don't like the conclusion I'm coming to I have to judge based on Jesus' life and I think we see that suffering and persecution and sacrifice are necessary parts of His ultimate strategy. The fact is that God does not reward obedience with success and security. When I think of all the big characters in the bible, like Moses or Paul, the more obedient they were, the harder life seemed to get for them!!

Well, this isn't exactly an encouraging and uplifting post.  But that is what I'm wrestling with this week. Let me know if you have any insight.

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