The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
1 Corinthians 6:7

“Why not rather be wronged?” the Scripture asks. Well, I could come up with a boatload of reasons. Any of the following phrases or questions immediately come to mind:

  • Doesn’t God want justice?
  • Does God want His children to be taken advantage of?
  • It’s disrespectful and I won’t be disrespected.
  • Unrighteousness goes against everything I believe in – am I to walk away from injustice?
  • They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that!
  • Well, it’s just plain wrong!

And yet, Paul writes that it is better to be wronged and cheated. I guess we should note for the record that if anyone has earned the right to make such a statement it was Paul. He experienced more than his fair share of persecution, false accusations, betrayals and character assassinations. Yet he continued to pursue God without bitterness and without holding back. There’s also no indication that he carried unforgiveness in his heart.

I admire that. I’ve been betrayed, falsely accused and had my character greatly maligned. I haven’t been stoned or beaten. Yet it took awhile for me to return to ministry without holding back part of my heart and my passion. There’s no indication that the Apostle Paul had a hint of hesitation to continue whole-heartedly.

I’ve been thinking about this abit – wondering where Paul got his undiluted commitment and passion. One word that comes to mind – it’s a word that God’s been highlighting a lot recently – perspective. Paul constantly kept his focus on bigger things – Christ and Him risen, Christ and His return.

I read a verse during a Bible study today that struck me more than it has in the past:

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

With His eyes on the prize – being taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely walked toward His crucifixion.

The author of Hebrews summarized it this way:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven…for the joy set before Him…Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem…He endured the cross.

The Hebrews passage takes the next step – the one that moves Scripture from being a story about someone else to being a holy standard and motivation for our lives:

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:3

Consider – think about – all Christ endured from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. So that your focus isn’t on what’s been taken from you or what someone did to you or said about you…so that you don’t file lawsuits to fight for what is yours. It’s not worth it. Such an approach means we’ve already lost!

But, you might say, I may win and gain back the money (or whatever) that is owed me. Yes, but it wasn’t worth the price:

  • The love that was killed in the process.
  • The time that was spent pursuing things other than the Kingdom of God.
  • The opportunities to practice so many disciplines – like humility and patience and kindness and silence.
  • The opportunities to show forth the love and character of God by being forgiving and compassionate and joyful.

What I see is that when our eyes are on the prize, bickering, slandering, cheating one another and taking one another to court fall by the wayside. They become excess baggage that when dropped leave us with a load that is so light we run and jump with joy more easily.

Life isn’t always fun and it often isn’t fair. Christ promised that –

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

But when our focus isn’t on this world, it doesn’t bother us nearly as much! Honest!

During this Summer of Praise, I’m working on fixing my eyes on Jesus…in all circumstances and at all times. How about you?

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