Tuesday, May 07, 2013

So, People Don't Like Your Faith in Christ: Stick with Him Anyway!

"People may mock our message but they can’t stop our prayers." In the passage of Scripture on which today's installment of 'Our Daily Bread' is based, Jesus says that the moment we confess Him as God and Lord, division will be created.

For their faith in Christ, Christians experience mockery or worse even among the members of their own families. I see it happen every day.

There are sensitive ways to share our faith in Christ, of course. That's what the apostle Peter is getting at in 1 Peter 3:13-16, when he tells believers in Christ to always be ready to give an account of why they hope in Christ and to "do it with gentleness and reverence."

But, Christians: That won't keep some people, even those with whom you enjoy close relationships, from disdaining your faith as though you suffer from some brain deficiency. Or, more often maybe, they'll tell you that you "think too much." (That's nothing new. Once, when arrested, Festus, the Roman procurator of Rome at the time, told the apostle Paul, "You are out of your mind, Paul! Too mich learning is driving you insane!" [Acts 26:24])

Stick with Jesus! Here's the deal: No matter what the world says or does, He wins and so do all who trust in Him. That may not be apparent to a world that measures wins in piling up the cash, being the least objectionable to 'the neighbors,' or knocking others down with gossip and innuendo. These and other "wins" are the ways world bound for death and hell measure the value of a life. But that's selling out cheap! Only Jesus is eternal. Only Jesus heals our sin and sets on the road to being truly human. Only Jesus can offer forgiveness and new life to those with the guts to say, "I'm a sinner and I need forgiveness. I'm a dying human being and I need Your life in me. My cynicism may inform me on how to get by in this world, but it has nothing to teach me about how to get into the new world Christ has for those who turn from sin and believe in Christ."

People will view surrender to the God we know in Jesus Christ as weak. They'll say it's closed-minded. But then you hear Jesus say, referring to Himself as the narrow gate: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction [that's the way of the world, every other way but following Jesus alone], and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who enter it" (Matthew 7:13-14). People tell Christians: "Calm down! Jesus is fine on Sunday, but you've got to live the other six days of the week. Are all those other people who believe in other religions wrong?"

Well, we're not in the judging business. The Bible teaches that God judges human beings and He does so based on the judgments they themselves make about Jesus Christ (John 3:18). But, once you've come to believe Jesus when He says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," then your own path becomes clear. And you pay heed to Jesus' commission to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Like Peter and John, ordered by their own people not to speak of Jesus and His resurrection again, we must tell family and friends who tell us to cool our jets--precisely because we love God and we love all people: "Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20).

Stick with Jesus!

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