Opposition to our Faith
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.1 Peter 5: 6-7
Following Jesus can create tension between believers and the surrounding culture that inevitably results in hostility. Experiencing hostility because of your faith is part of the deal for those that choose to follow Jesus. Believers must expect to receive the same treatment as Jesus. If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)
How are Jesus’ followers to handle the trials that accompany faith while remaining true to the one they follow? After all, Jesus intends to work through his followers to accomplish God’s purposes in the world. If believers respond to trials in the wrong way they damage themselves and their witness to the world. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:10)
Choosing to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand is the key to properly handling adversity. When believers truly humble themselves they follow the example of Jesus himself. They do not take matters into their own hands, seeking to justify themselves before others. Rather, they accept the consequences that result from doing God’s will and trust God as their protector and benefactor. Acceptance does not mean that believers are to retreat. Rather, acceptance motivates believers to pursue good works, confident in God’s character and his concern for their well-being. Believers that truly humble themselves reject retaliation, complaining, or self-pity as suitable responses to the hostility they experience.
Today, be aware of any trials you are facing today because of your faith in Christ. How are you responding to those trials? Does your response bring honor to God? Choosing to humble yourself before God is a lifestyle choice that believers must nurture in both good times and bad. Are you daily choosing to humble yourself before God? If not, why?
Prayer: Lord, I commit myself today to living in a way that honors you in spite of adverse consequences that may result. Strengthen me, gracious Father, as I face the troubles that are bound to come my way. I choose today to surrender the fears and anxiety that accompany trials to you, trusting your great power and love. In Jesus name, Amen