Where do we get this idea that life is supposed to be easy for the follower of our Messiah? Not in this passage. There is nothing here about God blessing us with earthly wealth, possessions, or glory. Jesus says we will be treated harshly. Not might, “will”. They persecuted the Son, they will also persecute His followers. This makes me wonder why we spend so much time fighting against being persecuted. The government outlaws prayer in school, but we don’t have to stop praying. Sure, I would vote for candidates that give me the freedom to publicly display my faith, but I don’t look to them for permission. I will publicly acknowledge my Lord either way.
Really, it makes little practical difference for me. The results may be different, I may be persecuted, accused, etc., but I don’t run my life by the world’s standards (even the prevailing US religious opinion) anyway. I live by the standards of my heavenly citizenship, not my earthly one.
The Messiah tells me here that I must be wise, but innocent. We don’t check our brains at the door, but we use our wisdom in ways that the world would not. The perception in the world is that innocents are those with the least brains. In some places “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying” seems to be the rule of the day. If you had any intelligence, you would use it to find ways to bend the rules.
Christ says no! Be wise, use the intelligence you’ve been blessed with, but not for bending God’s rules. Use your mind to test the spirits, to test and prove what God’s will is, and then follow it. Don’t rationalize away the full intent of God’s word, but come up with creative ways of doing God’s will! Clearly, God wants us to help the least … how can we do that? Let’s be wise! Let’s be creative! Use your mind, just use it in appropriate ways, not the ways the world would suggest.
Lord, I don’t expect my life to be rosy and simple. I don’t expect to never face opposition, but rely on You to sustain me through the opposition. Help me to use my mind, not to rationalize exceptions to You word, but to find creative ways to carry out the plans You have for me. Help me as I deal with students today to model Your love and care for them. Give me Your eyes, heart and passion for them! May I love them as You do. Lord, may I always, moment by moment, remember that I answer to a higher authority than any earthly ruler or kingdom, and hold myself to the standards that You have set in place. I love You, and Your Word is beautiful to me. Renew in me a passion to follow the commands of my Lord, Master, and Guide. Thank You for Your Word, which bring life to me in ways that I could never have imagined. You are a great God, and I desire to please You in all things. Amen.