By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Christians are expected to be patient because of how patient God is with us. We are expected to be forgiving because of how forgiving God continues to be with to us; and we are expected to be without fear because of how much God provides and protects us.
Revelation 2:10 (ESV): Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
God’s protection does not mean we will not have to deal with heart ache and misfortune; it means we will have the proper mindset to deal with them. Being a Christian is not as much of a promise to a wonderful life as much as it is a promise a wonderful afterlife. This is not to say we cannot find happiness, joy, and a reward on earth; but it is to say that life on earth will have good times and it will have bad times. The Bible says the sun will shine on the evil and the good and it will rain on the wicked and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). What Jesus is saying is if our life on earth is full of success and prosperity; that does not necessarily mean God is pleased with us. The opposite is also true, continually finding misfortune does not mean God is necessarily upset with us. It is important we remember where the reward is ultimately located and it is essential we prioritize our efforts in similar fashion. Holding onto issues on earth is not beneficial to anyone. Fighting over trivial things which are not going to matter in the bigger picture is wasting the wonderful life our Creator has given us.
John 18:36 (ESV): Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
If our focus is on the kingdom of heaven and being obedient to God’s will; we will not worry about keeping score on earth. When we suffer, may we be bold enough to proclaim any suffering we undertake for the furthering of the gospel is a blessing (Acts 5:41). When we have an opportunity to forgive someone who wronged us, may we recall that Jesus Christ came and died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). May we humble in our riches and poverty; whether we have much or have little, because neither is an indication of whether God is pleased with us. May we be fearless in our interactions so we can focus more on what God wants of us and less on what we want from others. God wants us to be set apart from this world; He wants us to be forgiving, patient, loving, and selfless in our interactions. If we achieve these things, we can be sure our life on earth will be full of more joy than money can buy.