Is it a crime to be a child of God? Is it a crime to seek righteousness? Well, apparently it is, at least in the kingdom of the ungodly. I hope you are not too surprised. If you are, consider the following statement by the author of the Book of Wisdom:
Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected. (Wisdom 2:12-20)
It is certainly a blessing to be born again in the Spirit and to become an adopted child of God. It is the greatest thing we could ever hope for. There is no better status; no higher glory and dignity (cf. 1John 3:1). Yet, to become a child of God is to also invite trouble: trouble from the enemy’s camp. The biggest thing that could trouble the Devil is to see us become sons and daughters of God. He does not get it. He cannot stand the thought of ordinary, weak and sinful children of Adam becoming reborn in the Spirit. We cannot, therefore, forget that the Devil is filled with envy and rage at people who claim to be (and indeed we are!) children of God. The story of Job is very illuminating in this regard. Satan, who roams and patrols the world (Job 1:7), prowling around like a roaring lion (1Peter5:8), sought “permission” from God to torture him to prove his so-called fidelity (Job 1:6-12).
As he establishes his dominion and influence among the ungodly, Satan seeks to incite them to “punish” the righteous for accepting the gift of God. No surprise, therefore, that the Sacred Writer on many occasions highlights the suffering of the sons of God. For the ungodly, righteousness must be met with opposition, insult, condemnation, intimidation, and if possible, death. Many of God’s prophets were on the black list of the ungodly (sometimes ungodly kings).The mere presence of the sons of God is a thorn in their flesh. The ungodly cannot stand the bright light of the righteous (cf. John 1:5). They will go every length to dim their light and to break their resolve. That, fortunately or unfortunately, is the price the sons of God must pay for their fundamental choice.
The psalmist has rightly said that “many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:19-20). Christ’s passion and crucifixion serve to remind all children of God about the troubles that await them (cf. Mark 9:31-32). The suffering of the righteous will always remain a mystery to us. Seen though in the light of the Cross of Christ, we better appreciate why the children of God will always invite trouble. And it is important to come to terms with the reality.
So my dear friends, sons of God have enemies. The fact that we have enemies who plot all day long to destroy us is another sure sign that we are on the Lord’s side. And the Good News is that we may be troubled, but never broken. We may be threatened but never afraid. We may even be killed for our faith, but will overcome death, for as St. Paul writes, “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Are you troubled for your faith? Are you rejected for your faith in Christ? Has your patience been tried? Have your friends become your enemies? Have you been threatened? Be assured that as a child of God no power can destroy you. The whole host of heaven is on your side. May those who plot against you be converted, and may they come to know that no one can destroy the anointed of God. I now wish to invite you to say the following prayer in faith:
Dear Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner. I acknowledge and worship you as my Lord and Savior. I thank you for making me a child of God. Let me not be afraid of the evil that surrounds me. Let my enemies be converted. When I am in trouble, deliver me. Thank you. Amen.