It’s easy to be a Christian on Sunday. We go to church and we are around other people who believe as we do. We sing and worship together, and we listen to the sermon to find inspiration for the week ahead. The challenge comes when we leave that church building. Waiting for us outside those doors is a world filled with people who oppose our beliefs and want us to be silent. In their eyes, it’s okay if we believe our silly little thoughts as long as we don’t talk about them or try to persuade anyone else to believe them. Have you ever had someone tell you that you shouldn’t talk about your faith? I know I have! And it always takes me by surprise. Yes, they want us to be silent. But our faith is bigger than them and it’s bigger than us too. Jesus said “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32. We have the truth because we have Jesus. We know who we serve and we know what has been done for us. So it’s our job and our privilege to share our faith with the people around us. To stand up and tell them the good news so that they can have the same assurance and freedom in Jesus Christ that we have.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about this challenge that every Christian faces.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NKJV)
Within these two verses there are five distinct commands for us to follow. Let’s explore each one together.
As women we are taught to watch what is going on around us when we’re in a public place. Our parents teach us when we are young girls not to talk to strangers. When we get a little older, we’re told not to park our car in a dark parking structure or next to a van. They say don’t go on long walks alone in a neighborhood park or on a blind date with someone we just met online. We are taught all of this in order to keep us safe from someone who may want to harm us physically. But this command, “Watch” is directed at our spiritual wellbeing. There are people out there who are against our faith. And they would like nothing more than to cause us to doubt our beliefs. So, we should take this warning seriously. Be on alert and be aware of who we surround ourselves with and what their agenda may be.
#2 Stand fast in the faith
As we just talked about there are unsaved people out there who would like to put doubt in our minds. But there are also many false teachers and so much confusion, not only in other religions, but within our own. These false teachers have a watered down view of Christianity or what I like to call the “rose colored glasses” version of the Bible. They are not doing us any favors by misleading us about what the Bibles says! It is up to us to know what the Bible teaches and to stand fast in our faith, or as the NIV translation puts it, stand firm in the faith. I love that word, “firm”. It makes me think about Jesus being my firm foundation and the rock that I can stand on no matter what circumstance I face. I hope that when you hear the word firm, you will have a similar image in your mind. Because our faith is built on the firm foundation and truth of Jesus Christ. But it is our job to stand fast in the faith. We are responsible for knowing the truth of God’s word for ourselves, to understand what is in it and to not allow false teachers to lead us astray.
#3 Be brave
It’s never fun to be called out and have to defend yourself. I get it, and I feel the same way. I don’t like confrontation either, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. But we live in a world where our faith will be tested. We will be challenged and we will be asked questions. So when this happens, we have to be brave enough to face the challenge head on. We can be ready with an answer and be willing to share our faith with an unbelieving world because we know the truth of God’s word.
#4 Be strong
Our society tells us that we are supposed to be politically correct. We shouldn’t say anything that might offend someone else. If we don’t agree, then we should just be polite and keep our mouth shut. But God has not called Christians to be silent, He has called us to be strong. Instead of silence, we should speak openly and plainly about our faith with those people who hold different beliefs and have questions about ours. And we should be mindful that our words are always grounded in biblical truth. If they are, then we should be strong enough to speak these truths with confidence knowing that God’s word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11)
#5 With Love
The four previous commands are forceful, maybe more forceful than we feel we should be sometimes. But our Christian love for other people is the most important part of this equation. Love is what binds us together and our love for the unsaved should be what motivates us to share our faith. God doesn’t ask us to be judgmental or to beat people over the head with a Bible. Our kindness and love for our fellow man will go a lot farther than browbeating them ever could. God wants us to show His love to an unbelieving world so that when they look at us they can see Him. Together we can show the love of Christ to those who need Him the most. With our love, we can be the beacon of light that shines the way to Jesus.
Sundays are a great day for us get fired up for Jesus, and to connect with other Christians. But our challenge is to live our life for Jesus every day of the week. It’s true that actions speak louder than words. And our actions are important because the world is watching us. What will they see? Will they see someone who loves them with the love of Christ? Will they see someone who is living out their faith every day? Or are we just casual Christians going to church on Sunday and living our lives as we see fit the rest of the week? I hope that I am not, that I will have the courage to live for Jesus every day. So, my prayer today, is that I will be able to stand firm in the faith. And that I will have love for those people that God puts in my life in order to share Jesus with them.
How about you? Will you stand firm in the faith? Will you shine the way to Jesus today? I pray that you will join me in taking up this challenge to live for Jesus today and every day! As always, May God bless you!
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Hi, I’m your neighbor at #FaithonFire and a first time visitor. I so appreciate this meditation from Scripture. Beautiful thoughts, beautiful verse! Blessings!
Hi Sandra! I’m so glad you could stop by. Thank you for the encouraging comment. May God bless you!
Does God seem far away from you? Do you feel like your prayers aren’t being heard? Is your heart overwhelmed by sadness and pain? We’ve all felt like the closeness we long to have with God is elusive. But we’re in good company because even David, a man after God’s own heart, felt the same way we do.
Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2We’ve all felt like the closeness we long to have with God is elusive. But we’re in good company because even David, a man after God’s own heart, felt the same way we do.Click To Tweet
There will be times in our lives when God seems far away. We may be discouraged and feel that God has abandoned us in our time of need. But David’s psalm is a reminder to all believers that in our despair God is faithful. So, let’s dig deeper into what God has to say to us today.
Hear my cry… Attend to my prayer…
David’s longing to hear from God is echoed in our own lives. He asked God to hear his prayer and to answer him. But for some reason, David didn’t feel like God was listening. I have experienced times in my life, where it seemed like God was very silent. During these silent times I want more than anything to hear from God. I pray “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”, and the response I get back is crickets. The silence is deafening and seems to go on forever. But we can rest assured that God will not remain silent forever. We are His children and our pain does not go unnoticed. He hears us when we pray and He sees us when we cry.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
From the end of the earth…
David may have been a little overly dramatic when he wrote these words, but haven’t we all stretched the truth a time or two. I think we can all relate to David feeling like God was far away from him at the end of the earth. Sometimes it feels like God’s just out of our reach and no matter how far we travel we can’t get to Him. We wonder where He has gone to and why He has left us all alone. But God has not moved and He has not changed. He is exactly the same as He was when we felt the closest to Him. Our perception of our closeness with God is the only thing that has changed. But our emotions can play tricks on us. They can cause us to twist the truth in our minds to fit what we are feeling at the time. Just because we don’t “feel” close to God doesn’t mean that we aren’t. Thankfully God has given us insight, through His word, into who He is and the promise that He will never change and He will never leave us. When we feel like God is far away from us, all we have to do is read His word. If we search for Him, we will find Him.
And you will seek Me, and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
When my heart is overwhelmed…
When my mom died, I learned what it means to be truly heartbroken. She was not only my mom but also my best friend. David described this feeling perfectly when he said his heart was overwhelmed. It’s a feeling of total hopelessness and grief, that nothing will ever be okay again. It completely consumes you from the inside out leaving you empty. For a while after my mom’s death, I was so overcome by emotion that I didn’t know what to do with it all. The flood of tears from deep down inside of me just wouldn’t stop. The grief left me feeling overwhelmed and worn down. Have you felt this way too? Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, or you’re in the midst of a crisis that seems impossible to get through. If your heart is broken and overwhelmed, here is God’s promise to you.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart…
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I…
Trying to get from one side of a raging river to the other side all alone is an impossible task. You just can’t do it by yourself. The waters are too strong and you will be pulled under in no time at all. So, you have to look for something to help you cross the river, like a huge rock to stand on. Every day, we are faced with a world full of metaphorical raging rivers to cross. And just like we can’t face a real river on our own, we can’t face life’s rivers alone either. God is our rock and firm ground. He is our safe place to stand when life becomes too much to handle. He will get us through the raging waters ahead.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you…
We will have struggles and disappointments in life and sometimes God may seem far away. But He is exactly where He has always been, right next to us, listening to our prayers, comforting us in our grief and helping us through the raging rivers of life. Seek Him with your whole heart and you will find Him.
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Your pictures with the hands are pretty neat. Combining sign language and words.
I love the words of David because they are so truthful, full of real emotion, and even questioning. I can relate to them. By reading them and seeing how David prays helps me be honest with God in my own prayers.
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I agree with you wholeheartedly, the words of David are something we can all relate to. God bless you!
My journey with god has been with ups and downs. Sometimes He felt far away, other times close. He surprised me many times, I thought I’m far away and still He answered my prayers. Thank you for these reminders.
Thank you for your honesty. We all feel like God is far away sometimes and I’m no different. But God promises us that He will never leave us and He is always faithful to answer our prayers. Keep the faith! And may God bless you.
Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
Have you ever felt lost? I’m not talking about the, I’m not a Christian kind of lost, but rather a feeling of floundering and not knowing what direction life is taking you. I’ve been there. I know what it feels like to be listless and longing for some direction. Maybe you have a vision of where you want to go, or maybe you’re looking for a little bit of inspiration. Either way, our feelings of being lost can’t stop God from getting us where He wants us to go.
Recently, I was feeling like I knew what direction I wanted my life to take, I just couldn’t see the path to get there. Even though I could see it clearly in my head, I couldn’t figure out the steps to make it happen. I was feeling hopeless, thinking that I would never get to that place. I was in need of some major encouragement! So, I turned to God’s Word and this verse from Isaiah jumped out at me. God was so good to show me His great promises within it.
Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old…
It’s okay for us to let go of the past. All of the failures and heartbreaks that we’ve experienced over the years can really bring us down. I fall into this trap a lot. I think about all of the things I’ve done wrong or failed at and I let it keep me from trying again. But God is saying to let it go and move forward.
Behold, I will do a new thing…
When we let go of the past, then God can do something new in our lives. He has a new plan just around the next corner for us. We can move forward knowing that God is in control and is about to make that new plan happen.
Now it shall spring forth…
This verse makes me think of a very charming town close to us here in Arkansas. Eureka Springs is only about forty- five minutes away and we love to visit there. It has some great antique shops and beautiful Victorian homes. But it was originally built so that people could bathe in the natural springs that flow up from the ground there. Nothing can stop these springs from flowing. They are a natural force that just happens. That’s the kind of force God is promising us. It will happen because He has made it so. Whatever it is that God has promised you, it will happen in His perfect timing. It will spring forth and flow.
I will even make a road in the wilderness…
When you’re hiking or camping it’s much easier to follow the game trails. The tall weeds have already been knocked down, the thorns have been pushed to the side and the trails wind around the trees instead of into them. This is what God promises to do for us. He has already gone before us and blazed the trail, making it so much easier for us to follow His path.
And rivers in the desert…
I remember years ago, I was traveling with my dad through the Mohave Desert on our way to California. It was so hot that the car’s tires started to melt a little! I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if we had been walking instead of driving, especially without water. This is why God has promised to give us a river in the desert. When we lose hope and feel like we’ve lost our way, God offers to give us rest and restoration along the way. Then when we are refreshed we can continue the journey.
I pray that this verse from Isaiah will encourage you the same way that it has encouraged me. God is ready to do something new in your life! All you need to do is follow His path.
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A dear friend of mine sent me a random text in the middle of the day. She asked me to read Habakkuk 3. I immediately sent her a text back and said “OK”, with a smiley face emoji. But I had no intention of reading it, at least not right then. Maybe later. I was right in the middle of a project and I wanted to get it finished.
Then God pulled on my heart strings and whispered, “You need to read it”.
I answered, “Ok, I’ll read it later tonight when things calm down”.
God whispered to my heart again, “You need to read it now”.
I sighed. My to-do list was getting longer not shorter as the day went on. But I resigned myself to God’s plan for the day and grabbed my Bible and started to read.
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines:
Though the labor of the olive may fail’
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Wow! I felt like I had been struck by lightning! All of these years later, Habakkuk can still cut straight to the point. It’s easy to praise God and find joy in our salvation when things are going great in our lives. It’s so much harder when life isn’t going our way.
Habakkuk knew that his people would soon face hard times. They were going to be without the basic necessities they needed to survive. There would be no food and no water to sustain them. But Habakkuk had confidence that if they put their trust in God, He would see them through.
If Habakkuk could find joy in God under such dire circumstances, then surely I can too. There’s an old saying that we all know, “Into every life a little rain must fall”. Well, when it feels like it’s pouring outside, instead of feeling defeated I’m going to praise God. He is the one who gives me strength to get through the difficult times. So this is my promise to Him for all that He has done for me.
Even though the bills are piling up, and it seems that there will never be enough money to pay them all…
I will praise You!
Even though my house is filthy, company’s coming over and there’s not enough time to clean…
I will praise You!
Even though my health may be failing and I feel weak…
I will praise You!
Even though I’ve lost a loved one and my heart is broken…
I will praise You!
God knows what we need even when we don’t and I’m so grateful that I have a friend who would point me to God during difficult times. She may not know everything that I needed to hear, but God did and He spoke volumes to me through a seemingly random text.
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We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Some days are hard to get through, and I’ve had quite a few of those days lately. We all face tough times. Maybe it’s the little things that add up and drive us crazy or maybe we are facing much bigger problems in life. Either way we can take comfort in God’s promises. He is faithful!
God has continued to place this verse from 2 Corinthians in front of me over the past few months. I have been facing a rather large trial in my life and the words that Paul wrote, speak volumes to me. I would like for us to take a look at the situations Paul describes and how it affects our lives today.
hard-pressed, yet not crushed…
When I think of being hard-pressed, I imagine being in a trash compactor. The walls are closing in on me and soon I’ll be pressed into a small little box. It’s a feeling of being trapped. Hard-ships will come in life but with God’s help we can face them. We may be hard pressed, but He will not allow us to be trapped or crushed by life’s troubles.
perplexed, but not in despair…
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you just didn’t know what to do next? I think we’ve all been there. Life can seem so complicated and confusing. There’s so much to do and so many things that demand our attention. Sometimes it feels like there is no way out. Maybe you are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one or struggling at work. Whatever your circumstance, I pray that you will be encouraged. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you. You don’t have to be in despair because God is in control and we can rely on Him fully to see us through these trials.
persecuted, but not forsaken…
There are different ways to be persecuted. It can literally mean that someone is trying to hurt you physically, or it can be in the form of a verbal attack. It can also be a general feeling that people don’t like you because of your beliefs. I know in my life I have felt this kind of persecution, sometimes even from people I’m close to. I have been questioned about my faith in Jesus on many occasions. I think questions are a great way to open up a discussion about Jesus, but when that discussion turns ugly, it can be a daunting task to keep it together and not lash out. In these times, I try to remember that I’m in good company. The Bible tells us that every Christian will face some kind of persecution. But the great news is that God promises to never forsake us! We can have complete confidence that He will never leave us!
struck down, but not destroyed…
Life is hard! Really hard. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned and reality hits us hard. When a huge emergency pops up in our life, it’s easy to feel like we’ve been struck down. But we are only temporarily knocked down, not knocked out. God is there to pick us up, dust us off and send us back out into the world again. We haven’t been destroyed, we have become stronger.
I have been in each and every one of these situations. I been hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. I have felt despair and sometimes it has overtaken me completely. But God has not forgotten me or left me alone to face these trials by myself. He has shown me His love and He has fulfilled His promise to see me through it every step of the way. I am so grateful that God has continued to put this verse in front of me over and over again. Every time I read it, I find the strength to face the trials of life and to have faith in hard times.
I pray that whatever trial you are facing right now, you will know that you are not alone. God understands that life is hard. And He has given you the same promise, He has given to me. He will never leave you or forsake you. He loves you and He will get you through it. All you need is a little faith in hard times.