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Why Are We Surprised?

April 21, 2012

Little Lupe

We have a puppy named Lupe who has truly stolen our hearts.  Lupe is all of 5 pounds and shouldn’t grow any larger than her current size.  Lupe is what is commonly called a “designer dog” which really means that she is a mixed breed.   I’m convinced that at some point in the recent past, some enterprising individual owned a pure bred dog who accidently mated with another breed and the owner had this great idea that they could convince potential customers that this was desirable, called it a designer dog and used that logic to charge a special fee for what used to be called a mutt.  Thankfully, our designer dog was given to us by a family who was simply looking for a good home for Lupe.  I would call her a mutt, but officially she’s a ChiPoo.  Yes, you guessed it: Lupe is half Chiuaua and half Poodle.  She is quite affectionate, but she is also quite spunky, in spite of her diminutive stature.  She plays with our 50 pound German Shorthaired Pointer with complete abandon and usually initiates the play.  One of her best qualities is her warning bark when a stranger is in the yard.  Unlike most small dogs, Lupe is not a “yipper” – you know what I mean, that horrible, annoying, shrill yip that goes on and on.  No, Lupe just gives out a single, deep “uff” when she thinks something is amiss.  Of course, Lupe has her faults and she comes with all the challenges of owning a puppy.  Potty training is always the biggest task, but that came as no surprise since this isn’t our first rodeo when it comes to being around puppies, and there are plenty of books available on the subject.  It would be foolish of us to expect a puppy to be potty trained or to act like a mature, fully trained dog.  She is a puppy, after all, and we certainly expect her to act like a puppy, which brings me to the point of this post: why are we so often surprised when unbelievers act like unbelievers?

I recently had to work through a difficult work situation which included, among other things:

  • an executive who found fulfillment in humiliating people in public
  • selfish/self-centered actions at the local region
  • an employee intentionally spreading false rumors and accusations for personal gain
  • an employee intentionally deceiving his manager
  • employees engaging in conspiratorial actions against a manager for selfish gain
  • these same employees making personal accusations against others because they weren’t part of the conspiracy
  • etc., etc., etc.,

I found myself shocked by this kind of behavior, and was quite angry at these men until the Lord reminded me, through His word, that sons of Adam will always behave like sons of Adam and children of God should never be surprised at this fact and it should never affect the joy and contentment that a believer has in Christ Jesus.    Peter clearly warned us that trials were inevitable:

1 Peter 4:12-16

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be gladwhen his glory is revealed. 14  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (ESV)

The suffering about which Peter was warning is exactly what should be expected.  Earlier in the chapter, Peter says “…they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;” the very fact that unbelievers make disparaging remarks about you/me, or conspire against us is evidence that God is using us for His glory.  The reason that they are doing or saying evil against us should be because our refusal to participate in ungodly actions is an indictment of their sin.  If this is the case, then  Peter says that we should rejoice, not get angry, for it is a blessing.  This kind of experience should be reason for giving glory to God, not for becoming angry at unbelievers for acting according to their nature.  It should be an opportunity to share the Gospel, not by deed only, for that’s simply moralism and any number of worldly religions could take credit for that kind of behavior.  No, it’s critical that we don’t fall into the weak position that is so common in our day that claims that we can share the Gospel by simply behaving properly.  I’ve known people who seem to behave in a peaceful manner that give glory to Prozac when asked about their good behavior, rather than to God.  No, when unbelievers conspire against us and say evil things about us we should view this as the time to show them the ultimate care by telling the only truth that really matters: the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Jesus told us how we are to react when facing persecution:

Matthew 5:42-44

43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (ESV)

There is no other action that we can take that shows our love more to unbelievers, our enemies, than to lovingly tell them the truth of the Gospel and pray for them, while we demonstrate the peace and contentment in the midst of persecution that only comes from faith in Jesus Christ .

Peter does give a warning, however, which caused me to stop & re-examine my actions: 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.  I didn’t murder anyone or steal from anyone, but there were times when I acted in my flesh (evildoer) and I had to make sure that I had repented from that behavior and had asked forgiveness for those times when I didn’t respond in the Spirit.

Dear Lord, please help me to walk in your Spirit at all times, and especially during times of persecution and trial, that I may rejoice in the opportunity to see you glorified through my experience.  Please help me to pray for those who persecute me, my enemies, and to lovingly tell them the truth of the Gospel.  Amen

From → Devotional

One Comment
  1. I agree with you about the beginnings of the designer breed. It was a very clever tactic and I have said so as well. We had a Sheprador given to us this past January, but she died of parvo about three weeks ago. Good dog, puppie and all. Destroy everything she got a hold of including my iPhone, well the Otter case anyway.

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