“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
(Matthew 10:19-20 ESV)
In yesterday’s passage God promised those of us who are His children would be persecuted by worldly religions, government, and even our own family because of our association with Jesus. But today He gives us another, more comforting promise.
When we appear before those in authority on account of our beliefs God promises to be with us in the form of His Spirit. Therefore there is no reason for us to be anxious about how to speak or what to say. The words we need will be given to us. God Himself will speak through us so that it is not us who speaks to these authorities but God Himself.
Notice that just like persecution was a matter of “when” not “if”, God tells us that He “will” give us the words to say to these people. There is no doubt. This is a promise from God.
For this reason there is no reason for us to fear other people. The worst men can do to us is kill our body which is temporary anyway. But they cannot touch our soul [Matthew 10:28], which is eternal. When we are persecuted we should simply rely on God. If we try to take matters into our own hands – if we let fear direct us – we will likely make the situation worse [Proverbs 29:25]. Rather we need to be a conduit through which God can speak to our enemies.
There is a divine purpose in persecution. Jesus says that when His followers are brought before leaders and authorities for His sake it will be a testimony to them [Matthew 10:18]. In other words, in the midst of hostile and even painful persecution God is at work. He is using the persecution itself to teach the persecutors about Jesus and how they can have eternal life. He does this through giving us the words to speak.
The very things that evil men do they think they are doing for God. But actually God is allowing them to do it so He can speak to them [John 16:2]. God can and does use all things for good, even evil [Romans 8:28].
None of us would want to be ridiculed, imprisoned, beheaded, or burned alive. But we have no guarantee that these things will not happen. God didn’t shield His own son from evil so we should not expect to be shielded from it either [John 15:18; Romans 8:32].
All the persecution of Christians going on around the world right now is a good reminder of God’s promise. Many of them have been shot, beheaded, or crucified. I can’t imagine going through such a scenario. I could only hope that I would not fear being put to death and instead would use the last remaining moments of my life to demonstrate the love God has for my enemies by allowing Him to speak through me the words they need to hear.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.