Vol. 3, No. 10
Sometimes walking-wounded soldiers of Christ limp along in the service of God. These wounded saints need to be encouraged to persevere in daily, life-long faithful service.
Young Samuel was taught by Eli to say, "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth" (1 Samuel 3:1-10). Isaiah answered God, "Here am I, send me" (Isaiah 6:8). These are admiral dispositions worthy of imitation by every child of God. Each Christian ought to offer himself to God as: (1) a servant, (2) ready to hear, and (3) eager to be sent to his duty-station.
However, servant-soldiers of Christ sometimes are wounded in the battle of life. Servants of God may be wounded by others or they may suffer self-inflicted injuries.
Often, God's people have inflicted wounds upon the servants of God. Elijah fled twice from his people in Israel (1 Kings 17-19). The Jews in Jerusalem repeatedly beat and imprisoned Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20, 32, 38). Disobedient Jews killed the prophets (Acts 7:51-52). Jesus Christ's death on the cross is the supreme example of wounds inflicted upon the servants of God by the people of God.
Also, the enemies of God wound the servants of God. Job obviously was harmed by the devil. The ancient Egyptians enslaved Israel and caused Hebrew babies to be killed. Heathen rulers caused Paul and Silas to be beaten and imprisoned (Acts 16:16-24).
Further, former faithful service does not guarantee that one will not falter. Remarkably, Noah persevered in righteousness for hundreds of years. Yet, after the flood Noah became drunk. Though Moses led Israel from captivity, because of sin he was forbidden to enter Canaan. Sometimes we too suffer self-inflicted wounds.
Unfortunately, the consequences of one's sins cannot always be avoided. David's first child with Bathsheba died despite David's repentance. In spite of David's repentance for the sin of numbering the nation, 70,000 men died in three days of pestilence (2 Samuel 24).
Happily, there is hope for even wounded servant-soldiers who persevere. The apostle Paul suffered wounds from the heathen, Jews, Christians and circumstances of life (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Yet, he persevered, expecting to receive a heavenly reward (2 Timothy 4:6-8). The apostle Peter denied Christ three times, but was permitted to be the first to preach the Gospel to the Jews and to the Gentiles. John Mark turned back from a missionary journey with Paul, although later he recovered his esteem and became a useful servant (Acts 13:13; 15:37-38; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11).
Finally, whenever wounded without cause by either saints or sinners, as servants we can find encouragement in the exhortation of 1 Peter 2:15. "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." We can even recover from self-inflicted wounds through penitence and resumption of faithful service.
Persevere in Christ despite wounds inflicted by others. Be careful to avoid self-inflicted wounds. Refrain from unnecessarily wounding others. If we do not persevere as the servants of Christ, 'the latter end will be worse than the beginning' (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Loving parents desire the best of everything for their precious children (howbeit, sometimes parents and children disagree respecting what is in the best interest of the children). Of paramount concern to parents and of extreme importance to the temporal and eternal happiness of maturing children, is a child's selection of a spouse.
Suppose a son introduced a young woman to his father as his choice for a bride. Further, imagine that the father in this case was aware of the despicable past of the woman just presented to him as his future daughter-in-law. She was from a family whose members were thieves, adulterers, prostitutes, homosexuals, drunkards, liars, even murderers; and this woman herself had been guilty of many of these same crimes.
Remarkably, his son's espousal presented herself somewhat audaciously at this meeting, though she certainly knew that her future father-in-law was fully apprised of her (earned) reputation. Were this father to ask you for advice, what would you say? At the risk of discord between parent and child, most parents probably would discourage the young man regarding his wedding plans.
Brethren, you and I, along with every other faithful Christian, together comprising the church, identify with this bride in the narration above. We were guilty of such sins in the past, but we changed (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
As Christians now, we are members of the church, which is the bride of Christ (John 3:29; Revelation 18:23; 21:2, 9; 22:17). Jesus Christ as groom (Matthew 9:15), mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), Saviour (Acts 5:30-31) and priest (Hebrews 4:15) between his Father and us is the reason that, though undeserving, we can boldly come before the Heavenly Father (Hebrews 4:16). "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
We should be humbled at the thought that we, due to our sins, made of ourselves the offscouring and dross of God's creation. Further, in that condition man is utterly helpless and unable to come near God who is holy. Yet, because of the intervention of Jesus Christ and our willingness to accept the gift of God's grace (on his terms), we are permitted to come before a merciful and loving Heavenly Father. How wonderful is our God!