Acts 6:9-10 “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.”
Those who entered this new year with resolutions for a healthier lifestyle or dieting to lose weight did so (hopefully) with a plan to fulfill this quest. If you have ever tried before, you know that there are triggers to identify, stumbling blocks to avoid, and a whole new perspective to gain.
The Christian life is no different.
Once you become a child of God, you immediately gain an adversary, the devil. He lost your soul forever and will try to limit and destroy you from becoming more like the Son of God who saved you. He is known as the accuser of the brethren.
Revelation 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
We told to understand our enemy.
Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Those in the flesh who oppose Christianity are not the enemy. They have become tools, willing agents to perform the devil’s bidding. When we fully understand that they are not the enemy, we can see more clearly where the fight needs to take place.
Reading about Stephen this morning, I’m reminded that there are dear brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who suffer for their faith. Persecuted, hunted, tortured, and sometimes martyred for their faith, they stand resolute in their profession of faith.
We, in America, are sheltered from such open persecution. But, I would be foolish to think this will last forever. Satan will not rest idle. Though he is ultimately a defeated foe, he will not rest until he is bound in chains and thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
We are admonished to be ready.
1 Peter 3:14-16 “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
Luke 12:11-12 “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
We must be active in fulfilling the commands that we are given. In doing so, we can be prepared for what is to come. Think about it; if we have never been a witness for Christ in peacetime, how will we know what to say or do when persecution comes?
If we never have to respond to questions or accusations with the Word of God, how will we ever know when our lives are in danger? We can use the above verse to justify our position, but I would much rather the Holy Spirit have a reservoir from which to pull.
Many of us would never seek confrontation. Few handle it gracefully. But, as a child of God, I do not want to hinder the cause of Christ by being needlessly unprepared. We should always study, meditating, memorizing, and learning the Word of God.
The child of God is promised their place in Heaven. God, Himself knows the path to our final destination. Placing our trust in His divine protection, be assured that we will not take this journey alone.
As you begin your week, take the name of Jesus with you and tell one person today of the reason of hope within you. Ready?