Devotional: ‘Rejoicing For the Privilege to Suffer for His Name’

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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”(1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Are you a courageous Christian? I’m not asking you if you are confrontational. I’m asking you if you are courageous. Is there a difference? Whereas confrontational people may be the ones to start a fight; courageous Christians are those who will not run from it if it involves the cause of Christ.

Read through the book of Acts and you will find many courageous Christians. The reason we know that they were courageous is because of the way they reacted to confrontation. Take Peter and John for example. Scripture says that one day they met a man in the Temple who had been lame from birth. Peter healed the man and then used the miracle as an opportunity to preach the gospel. Then we read-

“The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.”  (Acts 4:1-3)

Peter and John did not initiate the confrontation. The religious leaders did. But Peter and John did not run from the confrontation. Even in the moment of confrontation, they courageously preached the gospel to all who would listen.

“When they (the religious leaders) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”  (Acts 4:13)

The Bible never encourages us to be confrontational, but it does encourage us to be courageous. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians at Corinth with these words, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”

In a day and age when there is a growing resistance to God’s truth, we must encourage each other to be strong and courageous. Scripture teaches us that we must not “be ashamed of the gospel.” (Rom 1:16), but instead we must “endure hardship like good soldiers of Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 2:3) We should not be the ones who start the confrontation, nor should we be the ones who always run from it.

I close today’s study with these challenging words from the story of Peter and John.

Acts 5:40 And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

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