Monday, January 26, 2015

Bear Your Share

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.  So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.  2 Timothy 1:7-8

And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man.  Mark 3:26-27

Through “love and self-control,” we can tie up the strong man (Satan) and thus defeat temptation and how he tries to “possess” us and our lives. 
An interesting message, but those around Jesus do not know what to make of it.  It never occurred to them that the almighty would elect to live among us.  Jesus declared at the outset of his public ministry that the Kingdom of God is at hand.  He came down from heaven to claim us and the world as His own, not to cede that to Satan.   Binding the “strong man” is the way to replace our self-interest and temptation with what God wills for our lives.  
God also does not ask of us anything that Jesus was not already willing to do and to be.  Jesus controlled his human desires when tempted in the desert.  Jesus controlled his human desires when he prayed in the Garden for the cup to pass him by if it was God’s will.  Just as Jesus lived and loved those who were rejected by society, he asks us to do the same – not for our own purposes but for God’s.  

What share of hardship are you enduring for the Gospel?  Did you ever hear the story of a man whose grandson was born with a severe handicap?  The man prayed that God would give him the pain that this boy would suffer.  In a short time, the man developed a chronic and painful condition that followed him for almost 20 years. 
Whose pain are you willing to endure?

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