Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The book of Hebrews talks about believers who were once persecuted (by the Romans) and yet persevered; but some of the very ones that held strong during the suffering were “slipping” after things got good! The author of Hebrews warns against the wrath of God for those that deliberately keep on sinning—particularly after they have maintained their faith in the tough times.
I think that this is still true today! Some of us hold up with great courage when we are suffering or under attack for doing the proper thing, but then we fail morally and behave quite unlike the saints we were redeemed to be when God blesses us!
Whereas I realize that persecution and personal suffering quite naturally can draw us closer to Him, why are we so short-sighted when things go well? In the “good times” I tend to drift away from my intimacy from the very one that brought me to the good times. I call this, in my own life, “SAD”, i.e. Spiritual Attention Disorder.
King David, Samson, Solomon, priest, pastors, popes and incredible men and women of God throughout history have experienced the same spiritual malaise. They are men and women of spiritual iron when their very lives are at risk or they are suffering incredibly, but when they are blessed with peace, prosperity or “success”, they suddenly become spiritual midgets or idiots.
I have witnessed the same in my life and recognize that happiness and popularity are not the things those following Jesus must admire or desire. And if I do find myself respected and free from conflict, I think that the only prudent thing to do is willfully draw closer to Him and ask Him to protect me from the spiritual disease that afflicts most Christians that succeed.
I am aware, naturally, that there are many good folks that are not apparently suffering and are not under attack, and yet are quite well respected and honored in their communities. These same folks have not surrendered to pandering habits or vanity, etc. But I would argue that they are rare.
Humility and popularity rarely are seen in the same person— even in the body of Christ. Success and a maintained focus on the Kingdom of God is not common even among the most educated warriors for God.
May God grant me all the good things that make a man satisfied, but may He also always remind me of just how quickly success, people and life can change. The essential thing is my relationship with God. Everything else can potentially rot away at that priority.