Most of us have been blessed to live relatively free from persecution. We may have experienced some mocking, ridicule, or ostracism because of our beliefs, but we don’t have to fear punishment or death. However, that’s not the case elsewhere in the world. There are Christians in other countries for whom today’s passage is all too familiar.
Acts 4 tells us that Peter and John faced great opposition for their faith. After being thrown into jail for healing a sick man, they were warned not to speak or teach in Jesus Christ’s name. But they held firmly to their convictions and replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20 NLT).
Our goal as believers is to become unshakeable in our faith. Peter and John didn’t flinch from their responsibility to proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name, even in the face of imprisonment and threats. Yet in reading this account, we may wonder how we could ever endure persecution.
The truth is that in ourselves, we can’t do it. But we are never alone. When we stand for our convictions, God’s Spirit is always present in us. He gives us the physical, spiritual, mental, and moral strength to stand firm when we are tested and tried (Luke 12:11-12).
God wants His children to trust Him with the future; He doesn’t want us becoming panicky about what may lie ahead. But if He ever calls us to suffer for Him, in that moment He’ll provide the grace we need in order to remain faithful.
Bible in One Year: Esther 1-5