The world you’re growing up in is drastically different than the world of my youth. Society is ever-changing, and cultural norms are constantly shifting. For those of us who have put our trust in Jesus and consecrated our lives to Him, it can feel as if we’re losing ground. Our faith is ridiculed, our Bible is tossed aside, and our Savior is misunderstood and rejected. Turns out, the Enemy is a formidable opponent, skilled in the art of war against Christianity and adept at recruiting both non-believers and believers to his cause. Satan’s ultimate goal is to deceive and distract as many of us as he can, and he never takes a day off.
As mere mortals, we are severely ill-equipped to triumph against such an adversary. Thankfully, as believers, we have an immortal advocate who stands in front of us, shielding danger with one hand while He fights our battles with the other. This Jesus I speak of embodies all the wisdom, strength, and love inherent to Almighty God. He left a Heavenly throne, lived sinless among humanity, challenged cultural and religious conventions, and offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice, receiving punishment that was meant for us in order to bridge the gap between a Holy God and a sinful people. Regardless of what’s trending or who’s in charge, we can live victorious because He has already vanquished Satan’s evil plan.
In the meantime, there are three things to remember when we face spiritual battles here on earth. Here’s my take on how I am striving to respond as a follower of Christ when faced with vehement opposition to my faith and my beliefs.
- I am not a victim. I am victorious.
Romans 8:37 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Some of the recent comments I’ve seen from believers on social media have had a fearful and self-pitying tone. Many followers of Jesus seem to be surprised and offended when they are rejected by those with opposing points of view. At times it does feel like Christianity is in the minority, especially when it comes to Biblical truth vs. popular opinion. It’s hard to hold a viewpoint that most people around you think is hateful, even when you don’t feel hate in your heart. Being a believer in the Word of God doesn’t always win you popularity points; often your convictions place you at odds with the majority. When you feel like you’re repeatedly fighting the same battle with no relief in sight, it is a natural reaction to feel sorry for yourself and want to throw in the towel. What’s the point? It’s discouraging when strangers take your words or your beliefs and twist them into something you never intended to say. Being misunderstood is no fun.
Remember this truth: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities , against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Your fight is not with the stranger on Facebook who insults you and your perspective. God isn’t expecting you to go to war with a friend who believes differently than you or the sinner who defies God with their speech and actions. Your battle is spiritual. Your fight is against the evil one: he who ensnares souls in his bottomless net of sin, despair, and hopelessness; he who tempts you to engage in the name-calling, mocking, and hatefulness that are hallmarks of those unfamiliar with the grace of God.
Not only do we need to remember who our enemy is, but we must remember who our Warrior is! God is ALWAYS working and fighting for us. He has already conquered Death and Hell, and He isn’t worried in the least about the destiny of His children. No matter what the future holds for the faithful in this life, we can rest assured that our Lord will win in the end. He cannot be beaten. Satan is doing as much to damage the name of Christ as he can, and we add fuel to his fire when we respond to lost and broken people with self-righteous, pious, and judgmental attitudes. Approaching someone with a combative spirit is only going to push that person farther away from a God who is trying to use YOU to reach them in their need.
We lead victorious lives as Christians when we allow God to fight for us and instead focus on humbly reaching out with genuine love towards others. And if we happen to be mistreated or misunderstood, we can have victory over our emotions if we remember that God knows us completely and understands us inside out.
- I am not powerless. I have prayer.
James 5:6 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
So, maybe instead of publicly engaging others in arguments with the intention of humiliating them or demonstrating our own intelligence, perhaps we should turn to God and pour our hearts out to Him when we are facing a fight. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and when we pray for those who disagree with us, miracles can occur! Our hard hearts begin to soften, and we see our opponents for who they are: created and loved by the same Heavenly Father who made us. God can then use us to speak truth and grace into their lives.
When we pray, God eagerly steps in and lifts the heavy burdens off of our shoulders. When we intercede on behalf of our city, state, nation, and world, He hears. Prayer is a powerful thing. Prayer fosters a deeper understanding of God’s character. Prayer restores shattered relationships. Prayer brings healing and forgiveness, allowing us to treat others with divine mercy. When all else seems to fail, try praying!
- I will not lash out . I will love others.
John 13:35 – By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another
John 15:12 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
1 John 4:12 – No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
I guess what saddens me the most about the comments I’ve read on social media debating hot-button issues is the overwhelming lack of love. I see post after post, from both sides, filled with hate and disrespect. Now, I would expect someone who doesn’t know the love of Christ, who hasn’t been redeemed, to respond to a perceived attack in a less-than-graceful manner. I truly believe, however, that God wants His people to take the high road when we face those who openly defy our faith. The high road is paved with love. Not a cheesy, mushy, naive kind of love, but a selfless, sacrificial, difficult kind of love. If loving others were easy, I don’t think Jesus would have chosen to command it so many times. God saw it necessary to remind us that He set the example for loving others by his life, death, and resurrection.
Loving others doesn’t mean I excuse their behavior or support sin. Loving others means I take time to listen to, mentor, and respect those who may hold a different opinion than I do. Loving others is not always easy, especially when dealing with people who are irritating, self-absorbed, and simply exhausting to be around. Jesus loved us enough to die for us – knowing we might not ever receive Him or love Him back. Follow that example and respond to those around you with honor, respect, and patience.
The next time you’re led to go to bat for the cause of Christ, remember these three truths found in God’s Word: you are already victorious, your power comes from prayer, and you are called to love others. Before we turn our apologetics into personal attacks on those we consider our enemies, His desire is that we will let our fingers hover over the keyboard long enough to consider the ramifications our careless or self-serving words can have on those searching souls who desperately need the love of our Jesus!