When the ongoing events of 2020 hit the world, we all experienced something that changed the way we view our life.
I am no stranger to pain and suffering. All my life I have gone through unpredictable circumstances; things that I would never want to happen but am grateful they did.
Each circumstance has helped change my perspective, to view the world from a humble mindset, and to embrace persecution as an essential and expected part of my Christian life. Everything happens for a reason.
Humility is one of those essential things that Christians must be constantly reminded of, as it is so easy to be swayed into a life of self-promotion, glorification and seeking worldly affirmation.
Lately I have been conversing with people, watching videos, and listening to podcasts about people’s responses when bad things happen. The most common response that I have heard from these discussions is, ‘I don’t understand why God would allow this to happen to me. I haven’t done anything wrong to deserve this.’
If we analyse this response, not only is this response selfish, but it enhances a false pretence and lack of faith in God and His purpose for it.
Now, you may be thinking how is this selfish? Let me explain.
It is selfish for one reason—that when we say this, we defy a belief and faith that God will sustain us and that He has a purpose for our situation. It reflects a victim mentality with a ‘why me’ stance, and with the mindset that we deserve better, of which we do not.
Bad things are inevitable because we live in a world of sin and no one on this earth deserves love, forgiveness, good, holy, and lovely things. However, this is not a doom and gloom perspective, this is truth, truth of which is placed in the Bible in order to humble and remind us that God is the only one who makes us worthy of such things.
In this life we will be persecuted for our faith, for our truth-telling, and for our obedience and trust in God. Again, this is important to remember.
Although in our life we are able to fill it with beautiful things, things of which God allows, our beautiful life is meant for eternity AFTER we complete what God has placed us on earth to do.
Don’t expect life to be easy. Jesus tells us that we will be persecuted, just like he was. 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 12 says, ‘Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.’
In fact, the moment we became a Christian and took up our cross to follow Him, we laid down a life of comfort, conformity, and bliss for a life of persecution and resentment from others because of our faith.
Revelation chapter 2 verse 10 says, “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.”
My life has changed forever since my realisation of how important this is. I never, ever want to stop doing what God has put me on this earth to do. I want God to be proud of all I have done and to know that I did everything I could do on this earth for Him.
Matthew chapter 7 verses 21-23 says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
We must stop focusing on trying to fulfil ourselves by seeking affirmation from others, but rather by living a good and honouring godly life. God is the only one we should be trying to impress.
What does it mean to be a true Jesus-seeker? It actually means to take up your cross and follow Him.
Matthew chapter 16 verses 24 to 26 says, ‘Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’
The cross is not metaphorical for our heavy earthly burdens, such as finances, betrayal, heartbreak, or the like, but rather it is a symbol of our faith, trust, and unwavering surrender to God; dying to self. Our life is meaningless and worthless without God, that is why our life must be a pursual of following God, no matter what the earthly cost.
Matthew chapter 16 verses 25 to 26, ‘For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’
I have not been placed on this earth to live my best life, but to live my life as God has chosen for me—to bring glory to God.
Revelation chapter 4 verse 11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Life is not about posting photos on social media every day, making as much money as I can or bringing attention to myself in any way. My life’s sole purpose is to please God, share the gospel, love my neighbour, expose the lies of the world and spread the truth, and ultimately bring glory to God in everything I do.
1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31 says, ‘So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’
The Bible is not difficult to read and understand. God didn’t make it hard for us to know how to live our life. It is very blatantly stated in the Bible.
Galatians chapter 2 verse 20 says, ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’
We know as Christians we will be persecuted, but this life is not for us to endure in comfort.
1 Peter chapter 4 verses 12-16 – “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
The most important thing we can remember is to read the Word straight and true, as is the way God intended it to be read.
I am only here on this earth and given meaning and a purpose because of God. My life is not about me, what I can gain or accomplish. I live this life for God.
Let’s refocus, change our perspective, take up our cross and be deliberate in this life God has given us.
‘Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.’ (2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 9)
Cartia Moore is a sword fighter, trained and skilled in the art of fencing. She has recently graduated from her Bachelor of Arts degree and has completed an Honours in Screen & Media Studies. She is now going on to do a Master of Teaching (Secondary), focusing in the teaching areas of English and Film studies. She is passionate and driven to inspire and encourage others to seek and find their worth and value in Him.
Cartia Moore’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cartia-moore.html