Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:21–26; 2 Corinthians 4:7–18; 1 Peter 4:12–19
After working together for nearly a year, John and Dave became good friends. Dave supervised John at work, but the two men shared a mutual interest in water sports. They even spent a few weekends wakeboarding together at a nearby lake.
One afternoon at the end of the workday, Dave asked John if he wanted to grab some dinner. While they were eating, Dave commented to John, “You know, you just seem different from the other people I supervise. What is it?” With that opening, John shared his faith in Jesus. Dave nodded his head politely but didn’t enter the discussion.
The next morning, the way Dave treated John suddenly changed. The joking stopped, as did their daily discussions about water sports. After he later lost a job promotion that required a positive reference from Dave, John finally confronted his former wakeboarding partner. “What happened at dinner last month?” he asked. “All of a sudden I feel like you’re treating me like a leper.”
“Look,” Dave replied, “I don’t appreciate people trying to ‘convert’ me. And I have no tolerance for any religion that claims to be the only way to God.” With that, the conversation ended. Within six months, John was laid off.
Let’s face it: Our faith sometimes causes us problems. It’s always been that way. When Paul and Silas delivered a slave girl from spiritual oppression, their actions resulted in a citywide uproar. Authorities accused them of advocating unlawful practices counterproductive to Roman society. The magistrate ordered them beaten and thrown into jail.
While we might not risk imprisonment or beating, when we follow Jesus we do risk accusations of proselytizing or of being too spiritually narrow. Our stand for faith might even result in ridicule, rejection and discrimination.
Paul and Silas responded by allowing themselves to suffer on behalf of Jesus. In the midst of their suffering, they even invited their jailer into a relationship with Jesus.
While we might not suffer to the extent Paul and Silas did, we can still choose to make spiritually correct choices, as they did. We can follow in their footsteps—standing for our faith and even inviting our enemies into a relationship with Jesus.