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Christian Responsibilities-Part 2

Christian Responsibilities-Part 2
Endure Afflictions

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)

We are looking at a devotional series titled Christian Responsibilities, where we are breaking down 2 Timothy 4:5, which lays out 4-responsibilities for every Christian man and woman.  In our first part we looked at our first responsibility, which was,

1.    We must be watchful in all things.

Let's look at the second Christian responsibility contained within this Scripture.

2.    We must endure afflictions.

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions... 2 Timothy 4:5 (NKJV)

The command to endure afflictions comes from the Greek verb, kakopatheo, kak-op-ath-eh´-o; which means to undergo hardship: be afflicted, endure afflictions (hardness), or to suffer trouble.

Paul knew this better than just about anyone as he had faced hardship and affliction throughout his ministry.  We can get a good idea as to what he endured by taking a look at 2 Corinthians 11:24-27.

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (NKJV)

Now while it is true you probably will never face being beaten with rods because you profess Jesus as Lord, you will face many people who will scoff, ridicule, mock, and even isolate you because of your convictions and way of living.  But when we obey God and endure these afflictions willingly, we will be better able to remain watchful to the temptations to be angry with, or respond wrongly to those who afflict us.  

Let's face it, we all face affliction and have to endure certain people within our life who annoy and aggravate us. All too often the end result is our complaining about them.  But even in these types of affliction we can be confident in God's ultimate plan, which includes opportunity for those who offend us, and ourselves as well.  There is a poem titled, The Oyster written by an unknown author; it sums it up pretty well.  

There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand
Had got into his shell.
It was only a grain,
But it gave him great pain.
For oysters have feelings
Although they're so plain.

Now, did he berate
The harsh working of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?
Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
Have given him protection?

No - he said to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled around,
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate
Destiny -  stew.

And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral;
For isn't it grand
What an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand?

What couldn't we do
If we'd only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.

Hey Christian, God will allow these grains of sand into the shell of our life.  These people who foster ungodly ways and ideals will challenge us in our Christian walk.  So it is imperative we look to the Lord for wisdom and protection.  Our job is to show them the love of God, to share the truth and continue to wrap them in love.  Who knows?  Maybe God is allowing you to be a part of a new pearl that will one day be in heaven.  

STUDY QUESTION: According to 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 what kind of hardship did Paul endure?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you helping to make pearls, or are you just another piece of sand in someone's shell?

APPLICATION: Be willing to endure hardship and affliction for the Kingdom and for your Christian witness and growth.  Embrace those who afflict you by praying for them and showing them love in return.

Father, Thank You for Your love.  Thank You for strengthening me through the hardships I have endured.  Help me to love those who afflict or come against me.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000