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Pointers along the way #456

Why do we like 'nice' preachers?
- Jacob Ninan

We are struggling with one or more of the problems of life and a preacher says, "God is going to change everything for the better. Your marriage is going to take a turn for the better. This new year is not going to be like the previous one, but one full of joy, peace, prosperity and blessings. God is going to make you the head and not the tail. You can command this mountain to be cast into the sea. These enemies whom you see you will see no more. The Lord is a warrior in your midst and He will fight your battles for you. Every promise that you claim will be yours, and no man will be able to stand against you. Etc." Won't we be really pleased?

Yes, we are mightily pleased. But then do these things happen as promised? Hardly. We command a mountain to move, and it pretends as if it didn't even hear it. We speak life into our marriage and it only becomes worse. Etc. What has gone wrong?

These preachers have been only saying nice things to us and not the things that we need to hear. Perhaps we are suffering now as a result of some wrong choices we made, and no one tells us to set those things right. Perhaps we are careless and lavish in our spending but no one teaches us to be frugal and to live within our means. Maybe we don't have skills which we need for our job and we aren't bothered to acquire them, and the preachers tell us we would be promoted anyway. Maybe we haven't made the effort to understand our spouse and learn how we need to treat them, but the preachers are only telling us to speak healing into our marriage. We are lazy, we love our own ways and couldn't be bothered to deny ourselves in order to do God's will, and so obviously we like to hear all about what God will do for us and not about what we need to do. We lack self-esteem because of the way we have grown up, and instead of finding our security and significance in a living relationship with God we like it when we are told that we are sons and daughters of the King with infinite power at our fingertips (or the tip of our tongue!) and all we need to do is to exercise our dominion over the world!

Preachers who tell us the truth, about what we are doing wrong, how to get things right with God and people, what things are of real value and what all should not be sought after, how we would need to deny ourselves daily if we want to follow Jesus and become like Him--will naturally be very unpopular, especially when we have a wide choice of preachers of the nice type. True prophets in the Bible were not popular. All the 11 disciples of Jesus except John died as martyrs, and Paul too ended the same way. Isaiah was sawn in two alive. Jeremiah and Ezekiel were so unpopular before people and how they knew it!

If we want life and fellowship with Jesus, look for preachers who will tell us the truth about God and us. Don't look for an easy life in this world but expect opposition, ridicule and hatred. He who endures to the end will be saved.


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