Reflections on Matthew 10:16-39
“I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves, and they’ll be waiting to devour you. So be smart as well as staying innocent. That includes being careful about making what look like small compromises; that’s the thin edge of Satan’s wedge. So be on your guard; don’t think you’re immune to trouble because you’re not looking for it. Because you’re serving Me, trouble will come looking for you.
“In fact, you’ll end up in shackles, on the carpet in front of leaders and others who don’t know Me. Look at it from a kingdom perspective: it’s an ideal opportunity to witness to your faith in high places. Don’t worry about how you’re going to defend yourselves, trying to figure out just the right words and tone. Your Father will do the talking when the time comes; you’ll just have to open your mouths and let the words flow.
“Because of Me, everyone will have to make a choice, and that will split some families apart. You’ll be in the first line of battle, breaking through territory already claimed by the other side, so you’ll meet fierce opposition. It will feel like everybody hates you (except the partner I’m sending with you.) When they persecute you in one place, don’t waste any time moving to another. There will always be more people to tell, and your work won’t be completely done until I come again.
“Remember to keep on learning from and leaning on Me; don’t get to the point where you think you’ve got it all figured out. Don’t try to put yourselves in my place and be God to someone else. Your work is to take on my character, not my position. Keeping me in front of you will enable you to stand up to Satan and his demons.
“So don’t be afraid of them, because I know all about their tactics and weapons. Listen to the still small voice of my Spirit in the quiet of the night, preparing and encouraging and guiding you for what’s ahead. I’ll whisper the words you are to proclaim boldly for all to hear.
“Don’t fear the threat of death, because no one can take your salvation away. The real enemy to fear is giving up your soul to eternal destruction. Remember, I’m the One who created all things. A sparrow is the cheapest food in the market, but not one of them ends up there without my knowledge. I can tell you the exact number of hairs on each of your heads. Don’t you think you can trust me with even the smallest detail when you’re doing my work?
“The bottom line is this: whoever honors me openly and honestly and consistently, I will also honor before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me so they’ll be accepted by the world will also be disowned.
“I haven’t come to earth to make peace with Satan, but war. I can’t and won’t co-exist with him, and neither can those who follow Me. I have the sword of the Spirit, and it will divide people who used to be close. There’s no neutral territory here: if you’re not for Me, you’re against Me. It’s as simple as that – and as hard.
“If you decide it’s not worth the grief from your family and friends to choose Me, you don’t deserve what I will give up on the cross for you. If you can’t make that kind of sacrifice for Me, don’t call yourselves My disciples, because you’re not. It’s one of those upside-down realities: by giving your life to Me you get it back; it’s when you try to keep it for yourself that you lose it forever.
“When reality bites, remember – don’t let it chew you up and spit you out!”