John 15:4-5 ESV
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
To abide in Christ is to comply with him and with his plan for our lives. It is to obey him and his commandments (New Covenant), and it is to follow him wherever he leads us. It is also to be being conformed to his likeness, to his character, and to act (in conduct, in practice) in accord with his plan and purpose for our lives. It is to listen to him and what he says, and it is to do what he says, and it is to continue in him and in his word and in dying daily with him to sin and to self and in following him in obedience.
Now when this is how we live, we will bear fruit (outgrowth, results) in keeping with repentance and for his heavenly kingdom, for apart from Christ we can do nothing. We will also bear the fruit of the Spirit, perhaps not in absolute perfection, but by this fruit it will be evident that we are in Christ and that he is living in us and that we are following him with our lives. And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23).
John 15:18-19 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Now, when we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and we are abiding in him, and his word is abiding in us, and so we are bearing much fruit for God’s eternal kingdom, worldly Christians and the ungodly will hate us, perhaps not always in the strongest sense of that word hate, but they will not embrace us and accept us as their own. And they may actually oppose and turn against us and do evil to us because of our walks of obedience to the Lord and because we are not living just like the world.
Now the reason they will hate us is because they hated Jesus first. And so if we are living the life Jesus called us to live, and if we are sharing the truth of the gospel (the whole counsel of God), and especially if we are calling out the lies of the enemy and we are countering them with the truth, Satan is going to be hot on our tail. And those who are not living godly and holy lives may oppose us like Jesus’ enemies opposed him. And remember that his enemies were primarily rulers in the temple and teachers of the Word.
And so that is why I have included worldly Christians (or professers of Christ only) as those who will hate and oppose us and come against us and even who will do evil against us. And the main reason for that is that they are not living the life they were called to live but they are still living to please the flesh, and we make them uncomfortable. Because if we are living as those who Jesus called out of the world, those who are still living according to the world are not going to want to be around us.
John 15:20-21 ESV
“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
And persecution can come in many different forms. For not everyone is outwardly being treated in a way that is considered persecution, but some persecution comes in secretive and underhanded ways that is done in private and thus impossible to prove. For we have people who are professing faith in Jesus who are still living in sin, and so sometimes they will be mean and hateful towards those who are walking in righteousness, but hateful in ways that can’t be seen by other people, like what a narcissist might do.
So, just saying that not all persecution is physical or something that leaves physical evidence. And this is what many abusers count on. But Jesus experienced the same from his persecutors, although there may have been witnesses to what took place in his case. For his persecutors did all sorts of what we might call now psychological abuse. They hounded him continually, and they laid mind traps for him hoping that he would fall, and they played all kinds of mind games and tricks hoping to catch him in a fault.
The physical abuse of Jesus didn’t come until he was arrested, I believe. And then they beat him physically and spat on him and mocked him and then hung him on a cross to die as though he was a common criminal. So I am just trying to point out here that just because people don’t have physical scars or witnesses to their abuse, it doesn’t mean they are not being abused and persecuted for the sake of righteousness. And some of this is being done in private when there are no witnesses and so it is hard to prove.
Yet, nothing comes into our lives unless God allows it to happen, and he allows it for a purpose. And he never promised us that following him would be easy. In fact, he promised the opposite of that. He told us many times the cost of following him with our lives, and so he prepared us that the life of a follower of Christ is a life of suffering. But suffering serves a good purpose in our lives. We learn to be humble, and we grow in our faith, and we learn perseverance and steadfastness of faith, so suffering is for our good.
And although our Lord allows us to go through suffering, if we are his followers, he promises never to leave us and never to forsake us but to always be there with us through the storms of life. But he isn’t there just to comfort us in our afflictions, but he is there to strengthen us and to train us in godliness and to make us strong in the Lord and in his strength so that we can withstand persecution and so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil and so we will live for the Lord and never go back to our old lives.
[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]
A Shield About Me
By Thomas Donn Charles / Williams Charles Henry
Thou Oh LORD, art a shield about me
You’re my glory and my lifter of my head
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
You’re the lifter of my head
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