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Stop Causing Trouble

Galatians 6:17
From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. (NIVUK)

Paul, the Apostle, had a lot of trouble in his life after he became a Christian and was commissioned to spread the gospel. He listed some of his most difficult experiences in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28: yet he was sustained by the power of God. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, he writes, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Nevertheless, he now pleaded with the churches to stop causing him trouble.
 
All of the Epistles were written to churches which had either not understood the gospel, were retreating from active witness because of persecution, or were being invaded by false teaching. All of these issues caused Paul great distress as did the foolish, selfish, malicious and destructive activity of some individuals (2 Timothy 1:15, 4:10, 4:14-17). Paul physically suffered beatings, stoning and imprisonment; but it was worse when he was abandoned by his close friends. The Lord Jesus endured all of that. Paul had endured much but wanted the churches to know that causing trouble for the Lord’s Apostle was like another physical blow to Jesus.
 
Everybody who loves and serves the Lord, risks ill-treatment (John 15:20). But when that suffering is at the hands of other believers, the Body of Christ is hurting itself and insulting the Lord. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Yet God’s servants all over the world risk being despised by the people they serve: that is shameful. The arrogance of some church members is truly staggering as you see them denigrating the people God has chosen to lead. Some believe it is their right and even responsibility to criticise, condemn, and slander their leaders. They are wrong. They should repent and ask for forgiveness, before the Lord deals with them (2 Timothy 4:14).

Prayer 
My Lord and Master. Thank You for the spiritual authorities You have set over me, to guide and protect me as I learn to serve You better. However I am very sorry for those times when I have criticised, obstructed or slandered my leaders. I know now that I was out of order. Please help me to confess my sin and ask for their forgiveness; please give me a willing and submissive spirit, so that I can encourage those who serve the church rather than add to their burdens. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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