September 14, 2006
Since I have never done this before, I feel an explanation is in order. The following excerpt is from a study on the church of Smyrna, the second of the seven churches to which Christ wrote personal letters in the book of Revelation. For some months now we have been going through Revelation, verse by verse, and in keeping to my promise of posting something as often as possible, I use every spare minute in this endeavor.
Being in Romania, and going into the villages to pass out food, and clothes, to deliver cows and pigs, as well as check up on some building projects, I realized I had fallen behind on my writing. I would leave early in the morning, and return late enough into the night, too exhausted to put anything on paper. Finally one night as I returned home, I decided I would sit down and write until I either finished the study on Smyrna, or fell asleep doing it.
A couple days later, I was reading what had been written in the early hours of the morning, when I came upon the following passage. I do not remember having written it, but it affected me in such a way that I decided to post it as a stand-alone article for those who do not have the time, or inclination to read the entire study on Revelation.
"The warning goes out to all who would hear, that times of tribulation are soon to come, but faithfulness will incur the crown of life as just recompense. Suffering is linked to this present life, as smoke is to fire. Though the earthly vessel in which God placed some of his roses might be broken, though this present life may end in persecution and suffering, the fragrance lingers long after we are gone, a sweet, and well received sacrifice.
There is only one way to walk with Christ in this present life, and that is the way of the cross, and there can be no substitutions or deviations. That which we must inevitably suffer for the cause of Christ, is a grace, a gift, and a badge of honor that all who are integrated into His body must suffer at the hands of the world. If the head, namely Christ, suffered on this earth, what makes His body immune from suffering?
Luke 24:26, "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"
I realize full well that some will read these lines and think to themselves, 'what does this man hope to imply with his ramblings of suffering and such? Surely it is not suffering that I signed up for, this suffering doctrine was not presented to me when I joined my community church. I was told that only good times lay ahead, and once I signed on the dotted line, received my denominational lapel pin, and paid my tithes, I would float light as a feather through this present life, stopping now and then to appreciate the fragrance of the roses that lined my pathway to heaven. Suffering? Surely he is mistaken, these are no longer the dark ages, everyone goes along to get along, there no longer remains any hidden hatred or animosity against Christians, and this devil of whom he speaks is just a bedtime story, a mere representation of evil, but not and entity as such, our ecumenical life betterment guide said so himself.'
The reality that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution is something that we readily attempt to conceal from those considered 'seekers' in God's house. We try to present a watered down, spiritless gospel, to make it as accessible to as many people as humanly possible, blurring the lines between light and darkness, between truth and deception, between the world and the Church in the process. Anyone who promises you that a life in Christ is perpetual merriment and glee, bliss for your flesh and spirit in one easy to carry container, void of hardships, trials persecutions, and suffering is either ignorant of God's Holy Word, or is willfully omitting the truth, keeping it from your ears, in short lying to you.
2 Timothy 3:12, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
How can anyone love the servant, while he hates the servant's master? If the world hated Christ, which we know it did, then surely it will harbor animosity toward us. Christ Himself spoke these words countless times, yet we seem to have put them out of our mind, to have forgotten and dismissed them as though they were never uttered, instead reveling in our newfound acceptance in the eyes of the world, embracing it as some long lost family member, who has alas returned to the bosom of his kinfolk bearing gifts. Oh! How this family member was missed, yes often out of sight but never out of mind, and what a warm and welcoming homecoming he received, how tear filled the reunion, for so many had long thought they would never be reunited. Never mind that this particular family member is contagious, never mind that death soon follows wherever he is allowed to return, never mind that for long we have tried to escape and free ourselves, to unburden our hearts of this person, never mind that once we had escaped, we vowed never to let him back in, but to bar the doors and windows of our hearts, and be as far away from him as possible. Never mind all that, he has returned, and he accepts us, an we in turn accept him, he no longer looks his nose down at us, no longer thinks of us as fools, eccentrics, zealots, fundamentalists, or even God fearing Christians, we have finally done it, we have changed, evolved, we have thrown off the shackles of legalism, the cumbersome weight of Biblical boundaries, and we have stopped the controversy once and for all by omitting the name Jesus from our church services and programs. Indeed, we have finally done it, we have become the world, and the world loves us for it."
(2 Peter 2:20, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.")
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.