Giving up our “rights” is one of the hardest things we do. “Fair” is not in the vocabulary of Christians.
12 Before a downfall the heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
Christ calls us to give up our lives to Him, which means that we perceive everything that happens to us as coming from His hand, or at least being filtered through Him. God is working with the free will of every person on earth, yet somehow draws everything together for our good and His glory. On this side of heaven? Sometimes, yes, but most of the time, probably not. He is working from an eternal perspective. How He works everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) looks something like this:
- He lets us fall–only to raise us up miraculously and victory and/or in vindication as a testimony of God’s great love and power.
- We struggle with the consequences of other people’s bad choices, but He gives mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
- We die from sickness, accidents, because of someone else’s bad choice, in disgrace (not of our doing), and/or unjustly judged, and pass on to the great reward that He has in store for us.
Lest you think that I came up with these on my own, here is what Beth Moore wrote in her study on Daniel:
Daniel 3 is the account of the Fiery Furnace, from which we learn that deliverance comes:
- From the fire – our faith is built.
- Through the fire – our faith is refined.
- By the fire (straight into the arms of Jesus) – our faith is perfected.
Here’s what Paul wrote the Corinthian church about fairness:
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 1 Corinthians 6:7
He goes on to say, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” v.11. We have nothing to lose (that we won’t already lose when we die) and everything to gain (heaven and all of God’s promises), so why worry about life being fair? In fact, James tells us to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete [the definition of “perfect”-Matthew 5:48], not lacking anything” James 1:3-4.
The mark of a mature believer is when he is dealt an unfair hand, and yet he chooses to bless and pray for the guilty party. Want to be considered mature in your faith? Learn to bless and pray for those who take advantage of you (Romans 12:14), who persecute you and cheat you, and who say all manner of lies about you because of your faith. Jesus said,
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
“If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20
Remember, our joy comes not from our circumstances, but from our Savior.
Abba, may we grasp this difficult concept as we look to You for mercy and grace. Help us to be “little Christs” to the world around us. Call us to be different; call us to be peculiar, even considered weird by the world. Then, tweak the interest of those who are looking for You (even if they don’t know it yet). Help us to grasp the concept of Eternal Perspective: “Your kingdom over my country, Lord.” Your will over my rights. May we consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to You, O Lord. I know: it’s important. Amen.