Friday, November 7, 2008

1 Corinthians 4:9-17

Paul writes, "As I see it, God has placed us apostles last in line, like people condemned to die. We have become a spectacle for people and angels to look at. We have given up our wisdom for Christ, but you have insight because of Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored. To this moment, we are hungry, thirsty, poorly dressed, roughly treated, and homeless. We wear ourselves out doing physical labor. When people verbally abuse us, we bless them. When people persecute us, we endure it. When our reputations are attacked we remain courteous. Right now we have become garbage in the eyes of the world and trash in the sight of all people.

I'm not writing this to make you feel ashamed but to instruct your as my dear children. I encourage you to imitate me. That's why I've sent Timothy to you to help you remember my Christian way of life as I teach it everywhere in every church. "

Persecution for the Love of Christ
I always remember that Paul was Saul and made a complete turnaround in his life to follow Jesus. His convictions were sure, his resolve was steadfast, his love was deep. Truly his persecution was painful. Yet he gives an example of how to treat the world when they consider you "the scum of the earth" or worthless.

There is a challenge in this lesson for us all. How do we put our personal feelings aside when we are rejected, even by friends? Here is Paul who is without any comforts of a home, hungry, poor, and roughly treated, and still he finds the words to encourage us to be positive.

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