As Christians, we often like to talk about our favorite Bible verse or verses. These are usually the portions of Scripture that provide encouragement or remind us of God’s promises. Of course, it is no surprise that these positive, uplifting passages would easily become our favorites, and there is nothing wrong with that; however, we must remember that the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God, even the verses that we would likely rather skim over.
In his article for Relevant, “5 Verses Christians Like to Ignore,” Jesse Carey shares five Scripture verses that we probably don’t spend time memorizing or putting on sticky notes, but nevertheless communicate an important message to us about how God’s ways work.
The first verses Carey shares are Jesus’ words from Matthew:
"Do not resist an evil person … And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you" (Matthew 5:38-42).
This admonition is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which He says many things that may seem counter-cultural and opposed to our sense of fairness.
Carey notes that instead of not resisting an evil person, we often feel the need to put all our efforts into defending our faith and resisting those who would undermine it. This is natural, and the faith should be defended, but what Jesus is challenging us to do in these verses are to examine our motives. Are we defending the faith or ourselves because of a pure love for Christ and the Gospel or out of a sense of pride and the wish to be right and to be justified when wronged?
Another passage that may challenge us is James 1:2-12:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything … Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him."
No one wants to go through trials, but Jesus reiterates to his followers that they will be persecuted, they will suffer. With the popularity of prosperity Gospel preaching, it can be easy to begin to believe that we are promised only blessings and an easy road. On the contrary, “we should expect our faith to be tested,” says Carey. But, this verse gives encouragement, too, reminding us that, though trials will come, we can choose joy through them and God will grow us through the process.
Another verse that we don’t often take the time to think about is 1 John 3:15 which says:
"Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him."
This may seem harsh, but in these words, first spoken by Christ, God goes straight to our hearts, which may look clean from the outside, but inside are often filled with envy and hatred. This verse is a call to examine our own hearts, to not only refrain from acting with hatred toward others, but to interact with others in love, which must first originate in our hearts through God’s Spirit.
“We might not put these verses on our bathroom mirrors or read them on our coffee mugs as often, but these are verses that give us a healthy, needed perspective on who we are and who God is. It’s only when we realize we aren’t in control of our own destinies and lives that we can surrender them to the God who has created us and set the paths before us to be greater than we could dare or imagine.”
Letting all of Scripture work on our hearts will ultimately allow us to become more Christ-like and more mature in our faith, though the growing pains may be painful for a time.
Publication date: February 3, 2016
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com