GROWING IN CHRIST
Matthew 10:22 “All men will hate you because of Me (Jesus), but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV)
This is one of the instructions Jesus gave to the twelve disciples before sending them out. Think through your non-Christian associations before reading any farther to identify those people who hate/dislike/avoid you because of your relationship with Jesus.
Most Christians would have a short list, if not a blank list, of who hates them for their life in Christ. Jesus was preparing His disciples for this eventuality because He knew the reaction His gospel would receive from others. This Scripture asks two questions of you:
1) Do you have enough of Jesus in your life for others to hate you?
2) What should you be doing as a disciple of Jesus Christ that might provoke such a negative response?
A follower of Jesus should ooze the life of Jesus. Jesus exclaims in Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.”
This verse says three things to you as a follower of Christ:
1) There is nothing in your life that should come before your relationship with Jesus.
2) Your life should be directed by Jesus instead of yourself or the world.
3) Living in this way will cause hardship. Living in this manner will require your life to be constantly filled with Jesus, because this lifestyle will separate you from the culture you live in and the ways of this world by disrupting the sinful ways of those around you.
The closer you follow Jesus and respond to His Lordship, the greater the reaction from others.
Hebrews 11:7 states, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
The living out of Noah’s faith actually brought condemnation on those around him. The source of this condemnation is open for speculation, but consider that Noah spent roughly 80 plus years building the ark while living out his faith and calling.
He would have been mocked, slandered, challenged, forced to explain, betrayed by those he knew – yet he remained faithful. Noah remained faithful to God though it cost him time and resources.
You can see that all who stood against Noah actually stood against God and felt His condemnation. Why condemnation? Noah’s faith radiated such confidence that it forced one to accept God or reject Him.
The same is true of you. The flavor of Christ in you should be so strong that others want Jesus! The authenticity and closeness of your relationship with Jesus will force others to accept or reject Him. Their rejection of Jesus will be their rejection of you, which very well may feel like they hate you.
2 Corinthians 2:15 “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (NIV)