Faith in the Gospel in a Hostile World

thumbRNSATHEISTRALLY032412d1Do You Have Faith That the Gospel is Strong Enough? Let’s face it. Most of us are so focused on what we see on the news that we rarely stop to consider God’s power and sovereignty over the events happening throughout our nation and throughout the world. We hear about God’s power on Sunday and we discuss God’s sovereignty in our Bible Studies, but when we hear about the horrors happening all over the planet we despair. We say that we are focused on eternity, but we live like this life is all there is. In short, many of us speak the right words, but live like we don’t believe them. We say that the Gospel is the strongest thing on earth, but if we are completely honest with ourselves, we don’t act as if we genuinely trust it to be sufficient.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

2A74AF0C00000578-0-image-a-11_1436696962342These simple words were written by a man, under the inspiration of the Spirit, during a time that is scarcely imaginable by people living in the United States. Paul and the early Christians did not live in a place where the worship of God was protected, but in a place where the worship of God was seen as treason. These early Christians lived through more than 300 years of being crucified, being fed to beasts, being burned at the stake, and other horrifying tortures. By our standards, the early church faced tribulations that make the horrors of the middle east Christians of today look like child’s play. Not to trivialize the massive plight on Christians throughout the world, but Christian persecution is not a new thing.

The constant stream of attacks on our faith not only predates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but has been a universal since then. Whether or not we are talking about the Roman persecution of Christians or the Roman Catholic Church’s Inquisitions, true believers have been under constant attack since Christ’s life, death and resurrection. It is a constant theme of the Christian life. There is a reason why Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles spoke constantly about Christians facing persecution in a world that hates the Gospel. Just because we in the United States have insulated ourselves in a country that has been good to Christians (or at least used to be), doesn’t mean that this is the norm. History proves this to be an outlier.

his_handsSo why do most American Christians believe that we are on the edge of total collapse? Why do most of us listen to the news about terror attacks or refugees coming into our country and despair about the “dangers” we are facing? Why do we listen to a secularized culture and weep that the “good ol’ days” are over? Where is the faith that the Church that survived 2000 years of Christian persecution can survive this? Why are we incapable of believing that God is in control and that He knows what He is doing? Why do we say one thing and live in a way that screams that we don’t believe it? This aren’t rhetorical questions. I genuinely want to know because this is a struggle that I face just like (I would venture to say) everyone of you reading this.

Here is the truth and one that I personally hope to live from this moment until God calls me home. I desire to bring glory to God no matter what it does to me in this life. I pray to live in a way that reflects my belief that God is in control and that the dangers I face are ones that He has placed in front of me because He chose them to be there. When I hear of Muslims living near me I pray that I don’t have disdain for them, but that I have the strength to witness to them. If I hear about our culture being more and more hostile to Christians I pray that I don’t despair, but that I use that difference to be salt and light to a world that sees me as strange. I pray that God places me in situations where I can be sanctified and where my faith can be made stronger. I pray that if it is God’s will that I be ground into dust that I sing His glory in the midst of my pain and suffering.

This life is short and eternity is forever. Those of us who love the Lord, must start living as if we truly believe that the short 80-90 something years we live in this life are nothing more than an opportunity to bring glory to God in whichever way He sees fit. Let us not fear the future, but be excited about it. If God deems it necessary that we suffer for Him, let us count it as a blessing and not as a curse. The God that controls every atom in the universe has things under control; let us all start living like we believe it.

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, – Philippians 1:29

Michael Davis
Senior Editor of Veterans to Christ. Served as a Cavalry Scout from 2005-2009. Iraq Veteran.