Read: Acts 18:1-17
“But when they opposed and insulted him…” Acts 18:6
Paul travels all over the Mediterranean preaching Jesus as the Messiah and establishing faith communities wherever he went. He saw great success in church planting, but it was almost always mixed with persecution from the Jews and sometimes from the Gentiles.
Opposition to the gospel goes all the way back to Jesus and certainly back to the apostle Paul. There has always been opposition to the gospel, just as there has always been responsiveness to it. It’s a fact of life that not everyone will be excited about your faith, and in fact, some will openly oppose it.
In our day and age, in our country that was founded on religious freedom, it seems like a foreign concept to us. But around the world Christians are opposed, persecuted and even martyred for their faith. This is nothing new, and Jesus warned us that it would be the case (John 15:18).
We are seeing this opposition work its’ way into the courts and culture of our country too. Nobody is decapitating Christians at this point, but they are doing their best to rid the public square of Christian influence, and actively portraying Christians as haters and as ignorant.
But don’t lose heart. The gospel always goes further, faster under persecution. Paul preached in spite of the persecution and people were saved, churches were established, and Jesus’ name made famous.
So, like Paul, be encouraged even in the struggle. You were born for this time and God has a difference for you to make. Stay faithful to your faith even when people don’t like you. Don’t back down and don’t become discouraged. The difference you were made to make will happen regardless of persecution, and often because of it.
The Church’s best days are ahead of us… stay the course and buckle up for the ride!
Jesus, help me to stand and not get discouraged when I see or experience persecution for my faith. Help me to see the history of You coming through and reaching people in spite of opposition, and give me faith to walk in confidence that You will continue to change the world through the faithfulness of Your people. In Jesus’ name, amen.