Scripture reading: Philippians 1:15–18
Key verse: Psalm 98:1
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
What do you do when you find you are misunderstood? Do you look for a way to escape or retaliate? Or do you feel hurt and secretly hold the pain inside?
For a great deal of His life on earth Jesus was misunderstood. The emotional persecution He faced ended in His death. But God won the victory. The focus of Christ’s life and work was not on His circumstances. Instead, He was totally committed to the Father’s will. That was the heartbeat of His ministry, regardless of whether someone agreed with Him. His desire was for all men and women to know the forgiveness and love of God.
Paul was persecuted. In the end, his faith in Christ cost him his life. Stephen died believing and proclaiming the truth he had learned through the power of the Holy Spirit. What set men like Paul and Stephen apart from the others was their determination to do God’s will over the will of the world. Jesus set a pattern for each of us to follow.
In the book, Gold by Moonlight, Amy Carmichael writes, “A crucified life cannot be self-assertive. It cannot protect itself. It cannot be startled into resentful words. The cup that is full of sweet water cannot spill bitter-tasting drops, however sharply it is knocked.”
Father, I have so much to learn. Teach me the lessons of a crucified life.