All Christians are growing as disciples, including MBBs. They often face significant societal pressure to follow people and please them. The pressure may be overt – do as I say – or as simple as expecting us to conform to their actions or react as they wish.
A biblical example:
16“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions 17and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you didn’t dance. We mourned for you, and you didn’t lament.’Matthew 11:16-17 WEB
The Bible indicates that there are people whose goal is to have control over us, often with no concern for the outcome except that controlling us makes them feel better.
There is good news: we can chose whom to follow.
Jesus Christ cares about our future, and is good. Christians, when faced with the siren song of following people are best served by following Christ instead of people. His ways and words lead to good results and the best fellowship.
Keywords: Christian, discipleship, MBB, Christ before people
MBBs, there are ways to diminish soul pain in the midst of persecution, and I’d like to tell you about one of them. I was told by a college classmate to remember my salvation during times of great pain. He said that there might be times when nothing was working, but remembering my salvation most likely would. He was right. It worked for me during very intense times, even when reading the Bible seemed to have no effect.
The word of God is always effective. I simply could not take it in by reading it in during that time. My mind was probably not able to focus properly. Yet, my soul needed to see God’s love, and the way that seemed to work every time was remembering God’s demonstrated love for me on the day that I was saved. Remembering the changes in my life, what He gave for me, that He chose me and that He would never leave made the pain more manageable. It always made me feel loved and reminded me that God was in control. It still does. Remembering makes me remember His character, which is always good.
Remembering the day of my salvation has been effective for me when dealing with intense soul pain from persecution. Please consider doing the same.
Keywords: MBB, discipleship, remembering salvation, dealing with pain, persecution
That’s what I was told a few months after I had become a Christian. It was great advice, but took me a while to discover what it meant, even though my friend told me.
He said that though I was being loved a great deal by others, I still felt rejected because of the effects of being disowned and disinherited after becoming a Christian. He said that the love was rolling off of me like water off of a duck’s back because I did not have a way to receive it.
I knew he was right, but told him I did not know how to change it. He said that much of it was about focus. I told him that in my mind my focus would often go to the thing that screamed the loudest — in this case the pain from the rejection. Acceptance and love were not being received because their voices were being drowned in the noise from the storm of pain.
He paused for a while, looking down, brow furrowed. He took so long that his wife reached out to gently touch his shoulder, reminding him of the need to speak. I think He was praying, asking God to speak through him. I believe He did.
He continued to wait, then finally told me to rub love in like a lotion. He clarified that the kind of love I should focus on was love that agreed with the description of love in 1 Corinthians:4-8 and came from people that wanted the best for me. He said I should actively focus on that love, and continue to think about it until it went in (to my mind and soul). He said I should rub the thoughts in until all the love was absorbed into me, and that I should not stop doing so until I knew that I had been loved. I should note that I was being loved by people and by God.
He said that God was building in me the ability to receive love, and eventually I would be able to take it in fully. He said that receiving love would overcome the rejection, leaving me free to grow in Christ fully, with the ability to help others.
Receiving love in my life has brought healing, comfort and confidence. It takes time, but rubbing love in like a lotion has been helpful in receiving love and practicing Philippians 4:8-9. I recommend actively receiving love if you feel rejected or are being oppressed or persecuted — yes, even rubbing love in like a lotion. It works.
Keywords: Receiving love, lotion, rejection, persecution, oppression
People often wonder if they are equipped to minister to someone going through the loss and grief that persecuted MBBs experience. The answer is: yes!
You do not have to have gone through the same thing as another in order to effectively minister to them. Sometimes simply being with someone is enough to help them through an awful time. The people that most effectively ministered to me in college knew little to nothing of my culture or my pain. They were friendly, and we enjoyed each other’s company — it was more than enough.
If you can walk with an MBB through the pain, please do so. You don’t usually need to discuss pain unless they do. Your presence alone will be like a salve for them, especially if you help them enjoy the normalcy of life and perhaps even make them smile a time or two. The ministry of being there is underrated these days. It is extremely powerful for ministry to the persecuted.
Keywords: Being there, MBB, persecution
MBBs often wonder about how to have a productive and real devotional life – a time to seek God in His word and through prayer and learning from Him. Some people examine their schedule, set aside an amount of time, then read passages that they pick and pray from their prayer list.
Most of those people are making the major decisions regarding how they approach God unless they do the following – ask Him what to read about, people to pray for and in what order. It’s also useful to leave time for God to bring scripture to mind and people to pray for, perhaps about things they may not have asked for. He may bring things to mind even after your scheduled time. Ask the Lord to make you increasingly sensitive to His promptings.
Christians have an intimate relationship with God, and can make choices about how that relationship progresses, but those choices are best made when directed by the one who knows what we need. Our lives are best lived when submitted to God in Christ, and so are our devotional lives.
Keywords: MBB, devotional life, God-led