Today, I want to review chapter 24 in Jon Walker‘s  Costly Grace.

This book is a contemporary look at Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s classic book,  The Cost of Discipleship.

Chapter 24 is called: “Becoming Like Jesus Through Persecution.” Persecution is part of the game for the follower of Jesus.  Persecution is actually a badge of conformation for Christians that “the righteousness of Christ is flowing through us.”  As we follow Jesus, life will actually get harder.  Walker put it this:

To suggest that the Christian life is a gateway to problem-free, stress-free living is a sign of fallen thinking.  Our lives in Christ are meant to be extraordinary, incredible, meaningful, and purposeful but never trouble-free.  We’re to step into the will of God and stay there, trusting he has our best interests at heart, even though he tells us that circumstances seem so bad that we doubt his promises (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:13).  Rather than taking us out of the problems of life, making us appear amazing to others, he keeps us in the pressure-cooker so others can see how how a life connected to Jesus confronts problems in a very different way than a life disconnected from the divine nature.

If a Christian understands that God is in control of all circumstances, then that Christian can readily trust Him.  Christians know that they do not face the trials alone because the Lord Jesus is with them along the way.  The followers of Jesus are as sheep among wolves, and there will be trouble and persecution and danger.  Yet God still reigns and works in all things so that Christians can share the Good News of Jesus.  Though troubles abound, Christians are to trust God…

In other words, we must allow God to interpret the situations we face.  Only he is a capable of understanding all the facts and he sees the significance of every detail.

A New Testament example of this was all the sufferings and trials that the Apostle Paul went through in the Book of Acts.  They were part of god’s plan to get him to Rome so he share the gospel and write letters that are contained in the New Testament.  What happened to Paul illustrates how God always sees the bigger picture.

An example of Fallen Thinking:

I am being persecuted; God, what are you letting this happen to me?

Am example of Kingdom Thinking:

I am being persecuted; God that hurts, but I know you have my best in mind, I know you have a loving nature, and I know this is the result of the life of Christ flowing through me.  This is the cost of grace, but I also know this shows I will share in Christ’s inheritance.

Praise the Lord that he has our best intentions at heart!