Jesus promised it. Persecution will come. He predicted it, endured it, and overcame it. Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We know trials will come. We know Jesus brings us the peace we so desperately need. So, why are we shocked when God asks us to live this out?
It is not easy being a Christ follower today. The worldly society around us makes Christianity seem like some sort of rebellion. Society complains while Christians praise. Society values wealth in worldly possessions while Christians value wealth in heaven. Society displays hate while Christians display love. Society says to live and let live while Christians know Jesus is the only way to heaven.
I guess we are different.
Christian teachers are becoming muted. Our faith that used to be able to be more freely displayed is being restricted. I used to be able to promote my Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle in assemblies, video announcements, flyers, posters, and even the school newspaper. Not so much today. While we are being shut out, the persecution continues. Christ followers are shamed for living out their faith.
I have a choice. I can sit back, allow them to put duct tape over my mouth, and live out my faith quietly. Or I can stand up and shout the name of Jesus out so the world can hear the truth. Being cognizant of the laws of Separation of Church and State, I am called by God’s Word to respect my authorities. If my administration is not comfortable with me promoting FCA at a school assembly, I will submit to their authority. But at the same time, I will be shining my light in different ways. Ways that are still bold. Ways that are legal.
When persecution comes, we have a choice. We can avoid it and run away from it. Or we can face it head on with the power of Christ inside us. Being bold and standing our ground may not be easy, but God’s Word encourages us. In Acts 4, Peter and John were facing persecution for healing a crippled man. They were told to stop teaching and speaking about Jesus (Acts 4:18). How did Peter and John respond?
“But Peter and John replied, ‘Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:19).
They couldn’t stop! They faced persecution, stared it right in the eye, and said, “Bring it.” Paul actually welcomed it in Romans 5:3-4 where it states, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Translation … Be glad in the midst of trials; they harden you and make you stronger.
Do you feel that way during the storm? Do you praise God for your troubles? I must admit this is difficult for any Christian. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we obtain that mindset. I am leaning on that desperately in my current situation. And as the scene around me grows dimmer and the stones continue to be cast at me, I am beginning to smile. God has my back. I trust in Him.
This is a blind faith that does not make much sense to the nonbeliever. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Not just sometimes. ALL of the time. In the good and the bad.
I choose to trust. I choose different. I choose Jesus.
What a timely word from the Lord! Thank you! I’ve so enjoyed these devotionals this year, I’ve been encouraged!
So glad to hear that, Bonnie! We are officially done with school here in Olathe, Kansas. Are you guys out yet? If not, finish strong! The light at the end of the tunnel is seen! Enjoy your summer vacation.
4 more days! The last day is my 65th birthday! Best celebration, ever!
Christian teachers are like fine wine; the older we get, the better.