Summary: Christian don’t come with auto focus. To endure overcome hardship we must fix our focus on what really matters. you can also listen at www.preaching.co.nr
Church as it was meant to be, chose to endure hardship. They chose to endure hardship not because they didn’t have a choice, they could have walked away from the Church at any time, as many did, and gone back to the way life was before Jesus. They chose to endure hardship because they were focused on what God had called them to do.
While looking for the original design of how God meant His church to be, I believe church as it is meant to be is a community of saints, focused on their purpose. We are here today because our predecessors kept focused on the purpose.
Examples of Hardship
According to Acts, persecution of Jesus’ followers began after a trip by Peter and John to the Jerusalem Temple and Peter’s speech (Acts 3:12-26); imprisonment of Peter and John (Acts 4:1-21); martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 6:8-8:3); persecution in Damascus (Acts 9:1-31, 22:1-22, 26:9-24); execution of James (Acts 12:1-3, 12:21-23); persecution of Paul. Acts 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 all cite instance of persecution aimed at Paul. In fact almost every chapter in Acts records something of the hostility the early church faced. (see also 1 Cor 9:20-23; Gal 4:29 ;2 Cor 11:23-26.)
Like everyone else in the world, Christians face personal hardships. Whether it’s physical ailments, emotional pain, relational conflicts, or financial pressures, Christians, like non-Christians, face personal hardships. Everyone in this room is facing some degree of hardship.
Personal hardship demands a choice: walk away, live with it, or do all that is within your power to change it. Often people walk away from marriage due to relational conflict, people take their own lives because of emotional pain and some people live constantly in debt because they don’t face the challenge of change.
Believers facing personal hardship can walk away, live with it, or do, with God’s help, what they can do to change it. But they can also look to God for a miracle.(Ps 121:1, 123:1, Isa 40:26, 49:18)
The early church faced hardship because of what they did. When Jesus spoke to them about being endued with power, it was associated with the purpose of the Church. (Acts 1:8)
When you read the examples of persecution, you will see that persecution was a result of the church spreading the Gospel.
So why did the early Christians not just walk away when the persecution or hardships came their way for doing what God had told them to do? They endured hardship because they were focused.
Before the days of modern cameras, that come with auto focus built in to help us take a better picture, you would be required to fix the focus to get the best results.
Christians don’t come with auto focus. We are constantly required to fix our focus on what really matters. (Ps 141:8, 2Cor 4:18, Heb 12:2)
Focused on the Pain
Due to personal hardship, many people spend their life focused on their pain.
As a result of this focus they live in self-pity. Self-pity make you feel worthless and thus miss your eternal value to Jesus. Jeremiah had a pity party: