“Christians – do not be afraid!” These are the words of the apostle Peter that were paraphrased on the way to his brothers and sisters when they were persecuted for their faith in Jesus, their Savior.
Peter knew about fear – the fear he overcame when Jesus comforted him after his resurrection. Jesus asked Peter three times: “… do you love me?”
Today some of you out there may be scared as we feel that many of our freedoms are being taken away from us here in America.
In general, Americans have no real understanding of the Christian persecution. Yet many Third World countries lose their lives every day for their immortal faith in Christ.
Please consider this rhetorical question: if you were put on a jury, could you be convicted of your Christian faith?
You don’t need to answer, but you should look carefully at your sincere answer. Perhaps you too would have denied knowing Christ, as Peter did three times after Jesus was captured before his crucifixion.
We cannot know what is ahead of us. Some of us might face persecution one day.
Let me ask, what would you do if our religious freedom were withdrawn from our rights as citizens? Would you stop worshiping publicly or privately? These are important questions to consider.
In Romans 1: 18-20 the apostle Paul justifies the wrath of God in such difficult times: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all wickedness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth through their wickedness, since what may be known about God they understand because God made it clear to them. For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen and understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. “
Where is that for us as followers of Christ? I think it puts us in the hopelessness that many feel.
Christ is the hope they seek – even if they fail to see their need for a Savior and Comforter. We can bring the light that is so needed into this darkness that surrounds us.
Listen to these words of wisdom offered to believers at 1 Peter 3: 15-16: “But in your hearts you set out Christ Lord. Always be ready to provide an answer to anyone who asks you to indicate the reason for the hope you have. But do so with meekness and respect, and maintain a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. “
Let me share what I have learned from this passage about our problematic attitude at the moment. We are in a time of transition and need to find our strength in the Holy Spirit and prepare for these opportunities for individuals and groups to present Christ as the best solution to our seemingly hopeless condition.
People will be looking for answers and we already have the answer. We must bring them meek and respect so that they do not turn away from the truth that is so easily accessible in Scripture.
Personally, over the past few months, I’ve watched a growing number of my acquaintances wonder where we are going from here. You are more open to looking at God than in the past.
I believe God got us exactly where He wants us. It’s time to get close to him before it’s too late!
Passages for thought
»Psalm 56: 1-4
»John 21: 15-17
»Romans 8: 37-39
1 Peter 3: 13-17
– Jim Langley has been a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years. In recent years his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to approach him as well. A long-time member of the Santa Barbara CBMC (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he began writing columns on fourth quarter strategies in 2014 and is now reaching an international audience through the CBMC International Devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at [email protected] for more informations. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.