When problems or difficulties come our way, we either profit from them or wilt under the pressure. We can count them as obstacles or as golden opportunities. Persecution can be a blessing if those moments are used to press on to nobler dedication and loyalty to a cause that is worth the tribulation and pain. If we suffer due to our own foolishness, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that only our suffering for Christ is profitable, productive and blessed by God. “But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name” (1 Pet. 4:16). A happy person is not someone in a certain set of circumstances, but rather is a person with certain set of attitudes. The happy person is:
1. Not ashamed of the gospel. Rom. 1:16.
2. Pure in life. Phil. 2:15,16.
3. Not discouraged by hardship. Rom. 8:31.
4. Deeply loved one another. Col. 2:2.
5. Putting the kingdom of God absolutely first. Matt. 6:33.
The very opposition that Satan sent their way made the servants of the Redeemer stronger in their journey toward heaven. Obstacles deepened their resolve to be what Jesus said of them: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men” (Matt. 5:13).
When our fervent desire is to follow the Lamb of God, our lives are so much richer and meaningful than those who pursue earthly fame and temporary wealth. If we would ever eliminate the pessimism so many members of the church drag with them throughout their lives, and fortify our daily conduct with optimism, we would be much more like zealous children of God depicted in the book of Acts. A great poem by Edgar A. Guest captures this commitment:
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure.
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of grin,
Then take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done” - and you’ll do it!
We need to sing more evangelistic songs in our assembly worship to stir and challenge all of us to realize the potential of lost mankind.
Seeking the lost and pointing to Jesus,
Souls that are weak and hearts that are sore,
Leading them forth in ways of salvation,
Showing the path to life evermore!
Forget the obstacles and always search for the opportunities of life.
Johnny Ramsey, in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 50, No. 48, Nov. 30, 2001.
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