Most of us have not had the experience of being hated and persecuted for being followers of Christ, which is the case in some parts of the world. We all know that in small and in sometimes big ways, following Jesus will often put us at odds with the values of this world, and at times the values of our friends.
The truth is our faith is on trial every single day of our life. We are most susceptible to fail when tragedy and stress come to call. So, what do you do when your world is falling apart?
In Sunday’s gospel lesson, (Luke 21:5-19) Jesus offers these directives to his disciples:
- Do not be led astray by false Promises.
- Do not be terrified.
- Do not prepare your defense in advance
In other words:
- Do not be anxious
- Do not look for quick fixes
- Do not become defensive
Sadly, when the world is falling apart, most people, Christian or not, end up doing the exact things, Jesus states not to do.
We become anxious. We seek a quick fix to lift our burden. We excessively worry. In our mind we seek a defense or retribution against those who have caused the hurt we are experiencing.
The question that Jesus poses to his disciples and to us is not how you will react to and survive these times, it is how will you witness? When times are trying and they will be, what will be your witness?
There is a line in the gospel reading where Jesus uses the word “opportunity.” Usually when we think of an opportunity to try or to learn something new, an opportunity for a new job or a new call, we say things like, that is a good opportunity for him/her.
Jesus wants us to testify. He wants us to share our story. To share how Jesus impacts our lives. How he has transformed us into a new creation. To share who He is and what He has done in our lives. Where the foundation of your faith truly lies.
Do your words or actions portray that Jesus is Lord of your life. He says, do not prepare your defense in advance. Do not prepare a defense to combat those who may have injured you, otherwise, it will be just that, a defense.
He will give you words of wisdom, powerful words, full of grace, that your opponents will be unable to withstand them. I say that because a Christian testimony brings forth words that flow, not out of pain and anger but out of love.
Jesus gives assurance to the disciples and to us, that no matter how bad the world around us seems to be, Jesus to whom you witness, will see that you do not perish eternally, but gain your soul.
So, what will it be? We are called to have endurance in times of trial. Another words, have faith, for faith is a gift that God gives us through the Holy Spirit.