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DON’T LET THESE 3 THORNS RUIN YOUR TESTIMONY


Photo Courtesy: DeviantArt

The Christian journey is very challenging. Well, perhaps you find it easy. Kudos if you do!

I come face to face with daily tests, seasonal trials and periodic temptations. I love the Lord Jesus and I’m fully aware that he constantly strengthens me in every way necessary for me to overcome and finally receive my reward in the end. However, there are several moments when it feels just plain hard to be Christ-like or serve sacrificially in ministry.

If you do not have any hard time at all, please feel free to read other posts on this blog and ignore this one; but if my words resonate with you on any level, please read on.

Lately I’ve been taking out time to study “great” men and especially women in ministry from the 16th century to this point. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is really nothing new about the tests, trials or temptation that we have to deal with in today’s world.

Everyone whom God ever used had to make sacrifices in one area of life or the other BUT God often gave them greater than they let go.

Are you willing to sacrifice?

I keep asking myself this question. 

Look, I’ve given up what I consider “a lot” already, in love and service to God but I have also realized that not until I attain the predestined height in Him I still would have to let go a lot more. (Ephesians 4:13)

Over time, I have realized that just when I think I’ve given “my greatest”, I’m back at the altar again with the next greatest raised to power two” thing!

I once thought that making sacrifices would be a onetime thing. I was wrong. It turned out that with every new level or season I had to let go something I considered major. Has/Does that happen to you?

I’m writing this to say, if you’ve ever had to sacrifice an ambition, a relationship, a dream, a status or anything else to fulfil God’s purpose for your life, you are not alone. You should also note that it isn’t going to be a one-time thing therefore you should prepare your heart in advance to not get entangled with anything or anyone so much you can’t let go.



BUT THEN…
Making sacrifices isn’t enough. We can make all the sacrifices we need to fulfil destiny only to have these thorns ruin our testimony.

Thorn one-Persecution
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV)

Persecution is the mistreatment or hostility shown to someone as a result of their beliefs. Many people started out well but couldn’t endure persecution for their faith. I said to my mum recently, “I guess it’s easier to stand a gun against your head when someone tries to get you to deny Jesus, than it is for you to overcome prolonged persecution and deep ridicule for your faith”. This is because a true believer knows where he is going should he be martyred; but in the face of prolonged persecution and deep ridicule, we could lose sight of the glory ahead of us and eventually succumb to pressures.

Persecution comes in various shades and sizes. From the classroom to the office, from neighbourhood to family, from fields to boardrooms, we all have our share of hostility for doing the “Jesus thing” as they call it.

However, one thing we must note is that the strongest way to ruin a man is to break his spirit. Persecution is targeted at our spirit. We must guard our hearts and frequently seek and find comfort in the loving arms of Christ through the word, personal promises and in prayer. I admit it’s not often easy but it’s possible. So help us GOD!
Have you been persecuted or are being persecuted for your faith in Jesus? Please share your experience with me in the comment box.

Thorn two- Criticism

Do not Judge so that you will not be judged. Mathew 7:1 (NASB)
This is the act of analysing and passing judgement on someone’s action, faults or mistakes.
While persecution is most often from people of different faith/belief or level of commitment to Christ, criticism is mostly from fellow Christians.
We analyse and pass judgement on each other on trivial and serious matters. From a person’s financial status, to their marriage or divorce, to their dress sense or lack of one, to their Facebook posts and all!
I keep wondering if the pressure from the world isn’t enough such that believers have the time to nail one another.
I admit we “all” know the scripture but isn’t the knowledge of scripture suppose to move us to pray for one another and counsel if we have such relationship with the one who “fell”?
The judgement day is scary enough! We don’t need to make one another quit on the race by our hostile words and “holier than thou” attitude.
This thorn called criticism would hit you especially if you are set out for an uncommon assignment. Not everyone will agree that the Lord is leading you. They will also not agree that the shoes pinch so much that you made a wrong decision.  However, you must often remind yourself that THIS IS YOUR RACE not theirs and you are first answerable to God before men. Therefore, learn from your mistakes; repent where you have to and CARRY ON with the assignment. Don’t let this thorn make you quit!

Thorn three- Offense

And blessed is he, whoever shall not be offended in me. Mathew 11:6 (KJV)
 Have you ever stopped doing something God asked you to do because someone hurt you or got you upset? It could be that you stopped singing in your church choir, you stopped teaching Sunday school, stopped praying for your church women group, stopped evangelising at school just because someone pressed the wrong button.
While persecution and criticism are external thorns that reached for the spirit, offense is an internal thorn that breaks a man from the inside out!
I can totally relate with being offended. I have had moments when serving in ministry felt like a herculean task because I was hurt or ripped in bits by an experience or other people’s action.
Being offended seems like a normal human response but it is a deadly thorn that ruins testimonies.
When you are offended, you can hardly hear God’s voice. Service and Serving becomes irritating. That which you once did with joy becomes annoying.
I just want to remind us. That Christ is deeply concerned about our hurts, the anger and all that might have made us feel unusual towards to Him or His service. In fact, he said woe to whoever offends you.
“It is impossible but that offences will come; but woe unto him, through whom they come! “ Luke 17:1 (KJV)
So God definitely won’t find it funny with the person who influences you to withdraw from Him. However, He said you are blessed (Greek word Makarios which means happy, to be envied) if you are not offended in HIM! Mathew 11:6. Doesn’t that mean He has some goody in store for you???
Don’t let offense ruin your testimony, darling.
He that overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my father on His throne. Revelation 3:21 (NIV)
 Would you overcome these three thorns?
HELP US LORD JESUS!!

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Committed to your Fulfilment

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