Don’t Go With the Flow!

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong…do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,” –Exodus 23:2 (NIV)

Why is it so easy for us to turn a blind eye when confronted by injustice? Why is it so tempting to side with those who do wrong? There are a variety of reasons to which we can attribute our willingness to do so. Though we may know that the crowd is clearly acting against all that is noble and pure, perhaps we may feel that we have much to lose if we stand against them. We may fear the loss of status, friends, privileges, all the comforts we cherish and treasure. Rationalizing our passivity we may argue that even if we raised our voice in opposition we would only be shut down and ignored. We then keep silent; tolerating evil in an effort to maintain a false sense of peace and security.

We would like to think that we can sit on the fence between what is right and what is wrong. Reality however does not permit us to adopt such a position. Whether we like it or not, we must choose which side to be on. We cannot openly support immorality while condemning it secretly and claim to be good. If anything, it actually accentuates our allegiance to sin. Quietly siding with the crowd when they challenge God’s holy standards reveals our selfish, opportunistic nature in that we would only stand for His righteousness if it is convenient for us. But if we want to see true justice and integrity flourish, we must understand that it comes at a price. It means fighting against the crowd and proclaiming the righteousness of Christ no matter how many times we may be ridiculed, no matter how many times we may be scorned, and no matter what we may lose in the process. The wonderful fact is that we do not fight this battle alone. When we have allowed the Spirit of Christ to dwell within our hearts and seek to conform ourselves to Him, He will give us the boldness and strength to stand for what is right and true. He will always side with those who honour Him and resting in this promise our voice will rise above the crowd knowing that the truth of Christ will always emerge triumphant.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Greater Than Anything

“‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you.’” -1 Samuel 17:37 (NIV)

Being a shepherd was not exactly an easy task. David knew this full well. Not only was it imperative for him to keep track of an often large flock and make sure they did not stray off into the wilderness, he had to protect them from all manner of ferocious animals. Lions and bears are dangerous to encounter even for the well-equipped. Imagine how much more it would be for a young shepherd with little armour and armed with only a wooden staff! Yet David was able to overcome them both; not by his strength, but by the power of the One who created the lion and the bear. It was God who protected David in the wilderness, and who prepared and strengthened him for all that he was to face. When given the opportunity to fight Goliath, David already knew the outcome. With God as his defender, David knew that the Philistine would not be able to stand a chance, and Israel would be saved.

Situations and people can often stir fear in our hearts. Standing before them we tremble, and allow ourselves to be bound to them. We say that it is impossible to change our circumstances, that any hope of victory is just a cruel illusion. How far this is from the truth! We fail to see that there is someone greater than the problems we face. Every part of God’s creation is under His ultimate sovereignty. He is all-powerful and there is nothing which can stand against Him. What may seem insurmountable to us is easily conquerable for Him. In His love He wants to help us in our struggles. But what is our response? Will we place our faith in Him who is Master over all? When we allow Christ to restore our hearts and permit Him to set right our relationship with God, He will come to our aid; imparting His strength to us so that through Him we will be able to overcome all obstacles. By abiding with Him, we will be able confidently say with David that though what we face may seem overwhelming, we serve a God who is greater and who will grant us victory when we call upon His name.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Message Worth the Cost

“They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” –Acts 14:19b-22b (NIV)

Paul was a man on the run. On his first missionary journey in what is now southern Turkey, he came across a city called Iconium. Stopping here to preach the message of Christ, he found many who were drawn to the hope which is available to them through Christ’s redemptive work. But Paul also made enemies. There were some who did not like what Paul was saying and the religious leaders of the city sought to stone him to death. In response, Paul fled for his life. Yet the religious leaders did not let him go that easily. Hunting him down in a nearby city called Lystra, the religious leaders got a hold of Paul and brutally stoned him; leaving him for dead. Paul survived, but what is incredible is that he goes back! Despite the obvious threat to his life, Paul returns to proclaim what Christ has done for him, and what Christ can do for all who place their faith in Him.

All around the world today, Christians boldly practice and proclaim their faith despite threats of horrendous torture and death. But why? To many it seems ludicrously foolish. Why would anyone go to or stay in these dangerous places and risk their lives for the message of Christ? The reason is simple. It is too good of a message to keep to oneself. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, man has the hope of being free from their bondage to sin. By His transformative work in our lives, no longer will we be bound to our depraved impulses. Instead Christ will restore us to the people He has destined us to be; those who uphold His righteousness and love so that we may live in harmony with Him and with each other. What is more is that by our faith in Christ, we are guaranteed eternal life with Him in Haven, and the hope that one day Christ will return again to wipe every tear and set the world right. That is what drives Paul and Christians today under persecution, to stare death in the eye for the sake of Christ. Only through Him is there freedom, hope, and life. Do we know this for ourselves? When we allow the Spirit of Christ to work in our hearts and conform ourselves to Him, the things of this world will be of no consequence to us. Our greatest joy will be to share His love and message of hope with others. In this task we will be assured of the fact that Christ will enable and empower us by His strength to be bearers of His light no matter what we may face.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.