"Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
Psalm 44:20, 22
In this Psalm, the author (one of the Sons of Korah), points out that God’s people suffer rejection and persecution, even though they haven’t been unfaithful to the Lord. He concludes with the verse we just read: “For Your sake we are killed all the day long...”
Sometimes trouble comes to the Church because we have abandoned the Word of God. He may use trouble and even persecution to correct us. In other words, we brought it on ourselves and need to repent. Such opposition should alert us to check ourselves and see if we need to go “back to the Bible.”
But sometimes opposition, hatred, rejection and persecution come to Christians, not because we have brought them on ourselves or been unfaithful, but precisely because we have been faithful. Anyone who is a true follower of Jesus, earnestly seeking to keep his testimony pure and sincere, will face opposition.
The World is quick to notice and pounce on inconsistencies and hypocrisy, either in the Church or in individual Christians. Anyone who calls himself a Christian is closely watched and thoroughly despised if he shows himself insincere or inconsistent. Unbelievers might express approval when Christians deny biblical teaching or values but inwardly they despise us for it, and rightly so.
Here’s their dirty little secret. In their heart, the persecutors themselves are desperately hoping to find “the real thing.” They crank up the pressure, hoping in their deepest heart that we will not cave. If we do they are really disappointed, even though they say, “I knew it all the time! Another hypocrite!” And having been disappointed once again, their anger and disillusionment with shallow, insincere Christianity grows more fierce.
When they finally find the real thing, a genuine faith that refuses to be shaken; a gentle but firm commitment to the truth of God’s Word; they really get fierce because they have to make sure. In their heart of hearts they are convicted and profoundly impressed when they can’t break your faith. History is full of former persecutors who were brought to faith in Jesus by the testimony of the very people they killed.
Lord Jesus, You know that in our time and place people are disgusted and disappointed by the nominal churches’ lack of a true and faithful stand on Your Word. Forgive my own lack of a consistent testimony. Give me a true and living faith, to believe in and live according to Your Word, so that the hearts of those who attack me for Your sake can once again find hope. Keep me close, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles