August 14, 2022
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NIV)
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV)
Have you ever stopped and considered that these popular Scriptures were written from a jail cell? Yes, the entire book of Philippians, often referred to as “the book on joy,” was written from a common cell in a Roman jail.
Yet, even in this dark, difficult place, Paul still had a ride or die attitude. “Whatever I face, I’m all in for Jesus!” That was Paul’s life motto.
Let’s be honest: Paul faced some pretty difficult things. Let’s hear about it in his own words:
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.
I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (2 Cor 11:23-27, NIV)
Yet, through it all, Paul’s attitude and motivation never changed… his mission was to ride or die for Jesus and to spread the Gospel.
In these attitudes, Paul sets an example that we can all follow. Let’s be real…we all go through difficult times. As ride or die men who are fully committed to God, this is to be expected. As Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (NIV)
We see this every day as men who are committed to following God’s ways are slandered, ridiculed, and demonized. While most of us in America have yet to experience physical persecution, the day is quickly approaching when we may have to face loss of finances, loss of jobs, or loss of our personal freedom to follow Christ. Whatever the cost, as men who choose to ride or die for God in an ungodly culture, we can expect to suffer and be persecuted.
We follow Paul’s example when we see it as an opportunity to suffer for Christ and continue to “rejoice because great is our reward in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)
Paul reminds all of us that Christians are never promised a cushy, comfortable, name-it-and-claim-it life. That’s not Biblical. Instead, we are given the privilege of suffering for the sake of the Gospel and rejoicing while we do it.
Whether we ride or whether we die, we are totally committed to following Jesus!
By: Jamie Holden, Mantour Ministries
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
(Matthew 5:11-12, NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.