Sharing Our Faith in a Hostile World
It’s been a great run. We just finished the nine-week “Underground Vietnam” program from Voice of the Martyrs with the youth group.
It was a very challenging study especially with youth who have never really faced much in the way of persecution. I was impressed by how they jumped in and got involved with the program. This is some of the best participation I have ever seen from a group of young people.
What struck me is the strength of the faith of a group of people under a tyrannical regime. The other thing I found amazing is how our youth kids connected with them through the program. Seeing and hearing the stories of kids their age going through torment, torture and worse just to live out their faith.
I was a bit worried to share this with the kids because some of the stories were very hard to hear, even for me. Those youth impressed me. They rose to the challenge and got engaged. It was an absolute blessing for me and the youth leaders to witness the opening of eyes, hearts and minds.
I look at the state of the North American church and see it is a bit of a mess. There are preachers preaching hate, prosperity and other unbiblical things. I see people clinging to the hope of wealth when their souls are drowning in poverty. I see congregations filled with apathy and indifference, just clinging to the salvation they received from Christ. I could go on, but by now you are either upset, indifferent or intrigued to see what I have to say next.
I am at the point of wanting to pray for persecution.
Let that one sink in for a bit.
Has anybody ever heard preachers praying for revival? How can we have a revival when we are so self-focused? Why would God bless our nation with revival when our hearts are either cold, seeking prosperity or trying to force righteousness by condemning everyone that is different? The answer is simple: God will not bless us nor should He.
As I look at the nations that persecute Christians I notice something: The church is growing! The body of Christ is extending its reach beyond the borders, laws and rules of man. Revival begins in the hearts of men and women that seek the kingdom of God before all things.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 NKJV
I proposed a challenge to those young people: Seek ways to share the gospel in their daily lives. I have heard it said that people will see our lives and desire to know the God of our salvation. I think we are putting a little too much stock into how we represent Jesus. If I fail miserably everyday as millions do, then how is that going to inspire someone to seek out God? It simply won’t! Let’s get off our collective backsides and approach things differently. Let’s go out and truly love people, care for them and help them in practical ways. Let’s build relationships and show people that we are truly different.
So often we read in the bible people were converted after benefiting from or witnessing miracles. Jesus had compassion on people and built a relationship with them. It was the model He prepared for us to follow. Jesus shared how many meals with “sinners”? What happened after? He taught people and called them to follow Him. His example is what we need to follow if people are to see us as He sees us. We are to be salt and light:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV
My question is are we being salt and light, are we showing the world the truth of Christ and His gospel or are we showing them something else?
When I asked those young people if they thought the world would see things differently if we lived like Christ commanded? They were quick to agree that it would be the case. Perhaps we need to get in front of those destroying the testimony of the church and be a light in the darkness.
Be salt, be light, be a difference in someone’s life, show them the God we adore and serve. Remember also that the Gospel of Christ will always face opposition from a lost and hurting world after all. Live and share the Bible message of Jesus:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
This powerful Word cuts deep and will convict all of the need for a Saviour.