Christianity is at times a difficult way of life.
Christians are held at the perfection standard, persecuted and called hypocrites all in one breath. The Church is filled with hypocrites and thank God for that…at least it is filled with those who know they have a problem and are finding a solution with God at their side. This type of persecution is a badge of honour, for Jesus Christ calls it blessed. Jesus said, that you are blessed when people call you names and say all evil things about you for His sake. The message of Christianity is filled with worldly contradictions like love your enemy, bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you. Sometimes it is easy to love and at other times it can be the most difficult and painful thing. Yet love is patient, kind, gentle and enduring. It does not boast nor keep record of the wrong that was done in the past. Love never fails.
Every Sunday, we Christians celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is through the belief of this miracle that Christians anchor the principles of our faith. Through these two stories of Resurrection, in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, three similar elements remain: the power of persistent prayer, physically meeting the spiritually dead and calling their name. In the Old Testament story of Elijah and the Shunammite woman’s son:
When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and closed the door on the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. Then he got up on the bed and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and while he lay bent over him, the flesh of the child became warm. He got down, walked once to and fro in the room, then got up again and bent over him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.” So he called her. When she came to him, he said, “Take your son.” She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took her son and left.
Elijah prays fervently for the restoration of the young man’s life. Then he gets up close and personal with him by placing his body over the body of the dead boy. Then the body of the young man becomes warm and he lives again to glorify God.
Similarly in the New Testament story of Lazarus, Jesus went to the tomb where he was buried. He wept and he prayed and asked that this act of faith will glorify God and with a loud voice Jesus cries, “Lazarus come forth!” When Lazarus comes out of the tomb he is wrapped up in the traditional way of embalmment. Jesus asks them to release him from the bonds.
Those who persecute Christians are actually persecuting Jesus Christ and they need to be prayed for even more. They are spiritually dead and wrapped up in the ways of the world for Jesus is not a part of their lives. Satan has warped their way of thinking when they blame others instead of taking accountability for their action. Displace the pride and anger that resides in their hearts and replace it with humility and wisdom. Love not only with words, but with actions as well, so that your behaviour will reflect the love of Jesus Christ. Be kind to unkind people. They actually need it more that others.
Jesus came for those who were spiritually incomplete. We all belong to God. For the three elements of the resurrection stories are relevant to our lives. First, the prayers from those who love us are going to God, petitioning mercy for our souls. Second, we need to meet unbelievers where they are physically and emotionally. Finally, keep praying for their spiritual resurrection and that when their name is called , it may glorify the name of God. For God calls us by our name.