Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- February 4, 2011
“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:26
Authentic teachers and preachers of the Bible will have some who disagree with, or even dismiss their proclamations of truth. If a spokes person for the Lord is not criticized by some, there is a need to worry that they are watering down God’s word. Churches are not created to make everyone feel good, but to lead them to faith in Christ and holy living.
Furthermore, it is important how the messenger delivers the message, not with a holier-than-thou disposition, but in a spirit of compassion and humble boldness. Followers of Jesus are not out to intentionally offend and attack those who embrace untruth or a worldly way of living. Instead, we are to speak the truth in love and trust God with how the people respond. Do not be shy about your convictions, but do so with godly grace.
Has a vocal minority unfairly criticized your stand on marriage? Do some of your family members think you are strange because of the way you raise your children in Christ? Have some labeled you at work as a narrow minded Christian? If so, do not be ashamed that some do not speak well of you, sometimes we are best known by our enemies.
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).
Enemies of the cross are enemies of those who daily bear their cross for Christ’s sake. But we must engage the enemy in prayer and through spiritual warfare. The war is not won in the headline of a newspaper or in a debate on national television—the war is won as followers of Jesus flood heaven with faithful petitions and engage people with loving truth. The goal is not to win an argument, but to live a life worthy of the gospel.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).
Have you compromised the Lord’s standards because of pressure from someone you want to please? If so, dismiss the praise and applause of people and seek accolades from Almighty God. It is easy to stand on principle when everyone is happy, but the true test of your convictions in Christ come when people are not happy with your righteous acts.
Do not go looking for trouble—but when it arrives—look it firmly in the face by faith and speak the truth. Some will sneer, some will seethe in anger, some will slander, but Jesus will smile. Followers of Jesus who are different—make the most difference. An attractive life full of Christ’s character is counter-cultural, but points people to Him.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).
Am I timid to tell the truth? How can I turn my shyness about Jesus into a bold display?
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