Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
(Philippians 1:27-28 NIV)
When believers in Jesus live their lives in such a way as to stand out in the culture around them they will be noticed. But we will also face opposition and ridicule. This is a promise. None of us should be “frightened” when this happens. The Greek word used here refers to a startled horse who does not know how to react to an unexpected situation. Opposition to the gospel should not startle anyone.
Jesus, who was the very son of God, was opposed and ridiculed by many while He was on this earth. Only a few people actually believed what He had to say. If this was true of God’s own Son, then it will certainly be true of His followers. But we can rest assured – our God knows the very same suffering that we go through for His sake.
When we are opposed or ridiculed, no matter how strongly (“whatever happens”), we are to still conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus. Such spiritual strength in itself is “a sign” to those who oppose us. Responding in love to opposition is a great witness in itself.
We must remember that it is not really us people are rejecting – it is Jesus they are rejecting [Luke 10:16]. The prophets who lived before us were also ridiculed and rejected [Luke 6:23, 26]. We are in great company.
In fact, we are blessed when people reject us for our faith in Christ [Luke 6:22]. This should be of great encouragement. We should not be looking to the world for affirmation or fulfillment. The world can only affirm what it knows – sin. It cannot affirm what it does not know – it does not know Jesus.
Last year I blogged daily as I read through the Bible in one year. And I received much negative feedback including multiple death threats. I was not surprised or concerned. Believers should not be shy or scared to expose their faith before the world. No matter what happens to us, God can, and will, use it for good [Romans 8:28].
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