while ago, we went through a list of men of faith who have gone before us and have passed through various ordeals. They were recorded for our examples and lessons. From it, we can conclude that living a Godly life does not necessarily protect nor insulate us from affliction, suffering, persecution, trial or mockery. In fact, if anything, the more we strive to live a life pleasing to God, the more we expose ourselves to frequent attack from both the seen and the unseen forces.
Paul wrote: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph 6:12).
To Timothy, he wrote: "You may as well know this too, that in the last days, it is going to be very difficult to be a Christianů For people will be rough and cruel and sneer at those who try to be good. Yes and those who decide to please Christ Jesus by living godly lives will suffer at the hands of those who hate Him" (Extract 2 Tim 3:1-4,12). And there lies the Christian dignity when we go through difficulties for trying to live a godly life. This is the only way by which we make ourselves partners and partakers of Christ's suffering (1 Peter 4:13).
A Yoruba adage says: "A good son resembles his father by behaving true to type", Jesus having warned that "A student shares his teacher's fate" (Matt 10:24-25; John 15:20). He said further "For you get enough hate from the world! But then, it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you, if you belonged to it; but you don't - for I chose you to come out of the world and so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? "A slave isn't greater than his master! So since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you -----. The people of the world will persecute you because you belong to me, for they don't know God who sent me" (John 15:18-21). "And whosever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27).
The Cross-, in relation to the one on which Our Lord died is normally understood by the Church as a "Symbol (emblem) of suffering and shame". Cruden Bible concordance defines it as "trials or misfortunes, especially when considered as tests of Christian patience or virtue". Yet this is what the Lord said we must take up. "If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine" (Matt 10:36) says the Master. This means, whoever calls himself a disciple of Christ and he is not prepared to suffer the consequences of that decision is not worthy of being Christ's.
(To be contd)