Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thick skinned + flint faced

Young William Wilberforce became a member of Parliament and enjoyed the wining and dining life of a politician in the 1880’s. But in 1886, he had a profound encounter with God and wanted more than anything to please and serve Him in his position in government. His conversion and goal to abolish slavery in Britain made him the butt of jokes and angered many of his fellow parliamentarians. The opposition ganged up on him and found ways to block all twelve of his resolutions and rejected another eight bills as well. 

He was a laughingstock and was forced to confront enemies on all sides. But his faith pushed him to do what was right before God above his own reputation. It was a battle of fourteen years before he saw any victory, but that victory changed history and triggered the eventual collapse of the slave trade in France, the US, and many countries, all because of his stubborn faith.  

Following God means having a thick skin, a stubborn will, and a humble heart to just obey in the middle of ridicule and attack. When we're fighting for an answered prayer or a specific cause, we have no idea that the process of our daily fight may be undermining huge demonic principalities that impact much more than our individual lives. Our fight could affect the blessings and freedom of many others.  

Most of the time what blocks us from asserting our faith or taking a stand, is our fear of humiliation and failure. We don't want to even try if we don't have a guarantee that we'll come out unscathed. Well, God never promises smooth sailing when it comes to receiving answered prayer—answers that He wants to give us! He wants us to go through the barrage of attacks and learn that though the intention of the devil is to humiliate us and intimidate us, we will not be humiliated and we will overcome as long as we stand fast in faith. Wilberforce is one of the only names remembered from that period of the English Parliament. He is still being honored today, and is now in heaven reaping the rewards of his faith. 

Jesus is our greatest example of unjust attack and humiliation at the hands of the devil through the Roman soldiers and the Jewish religious court of that time. Just the fact that God the Son had to diminish Himself to be born as a human on this earth was humiliation enough, but He willingly took on the cross because He loved us so much. To all eyes witnessing those horrible last hours of His life, it looked as if He was going through the worst humiliation. But through that searing pain and profound loneliness of being abandoned by His Father, Jesus stubbornly held on to what He knew was the truth. During those hours He showed us who we are to be for Him at all times. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would “set His face like flint,”  He was unshakeable. What He did impacted more than a few countries, it changed all the world, past present and future, and still impacts us today.  

The Lord God will help Me; therefore I have not been humiliated; therefore I have set My face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.  (Isaiah 50:7 HCSB)

Side note: Watch the movie, “Amazing Grace,” all about William Wilberforce’s fight and faith for more inspiration.

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