Evening Reading for August 23

John 15:18-25
Suggested further reading: Hebrews 11:32-38

We are shown in this passage what true Christians must expect to meet in this world — hatred and persecution. If the disciples looked for kindness and gratitude from man, they would be painfully disappointed. They must lay their account to be ill-treated like their Master. `The world hateth you. Be not moved or surprised. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.'

Facts, painful facts in every age, supply abundant proof that our Lord's warning was not without cause. Persecution was the lot of the apostles and their companions wherever they went. Not more than one or two of them died quietly in his bed. Persecution has been the lot of true believers throughout the twenty Christian centuries of history. The doings of Roman emperors and Roman popes, the Spanish Inquisition, the martyrdoms of Queen Mary's reign — all tell the same story. Persecution is the lot of all really godly people at this very day. Ridicule, mockery, slander, misrepresentation still show the feelings of unconverted people against the true Christian. As it was in St Paul's day, so it is now. In public and in private, at school and at college, at home and abroad, `All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution' (2 Tim. 3:12). Mere churchmanship and outward profession are a cheap religion, of course, and cost a man nothing. But real vital Christianity will always bring with it a cross.

To know and understand these things is of the utmost importance to our comfort. Nothing is so mischievous as the habit of indulging false expectations. Let us realize that human nature never changes, that `The carnal mind is enmity against God' and against God's image in his people. Let us settle it in our minds that no holiness of life or consistency of conduct will ever prevent wicked people hating the servants of Christ, just as they hated their blameless Master. Let us remember these things and then we shall not be disappointed.

For meditation: Expect nothing from men but great things from God.

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
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