I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.
-Melissa Joan Hart as Grace Wesley, God’s Not Dead 2
The above quotation is taken from the trailer for the film God’s Not Dead 2, and it sums up the message of that film as well as the feelings of, what I imagine to be, a good many believers. We live in a world that will acknowledge everyone’s right to believe in anything, except Jesus. Believe in Jesus, and I mean truly believe not just pay lip service, and you are a hypocrite, backwards, gullible or even a bigoted hater. How do we, as Christians, affirm that God’s not Dead in a world that mocks us for it?
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
II Timothy 3:16-17
Study. Sooner or later someone is going to demand an explanation of why you believe in what they consider a fairy tale. How are you going to answer? The sad truth is most of us can’t. We fall back on what we can remember from church or Sunday school. It is never enough.
In order to be able to defend your faith you need to immerse yourself in the scripture. Study your Bible! Talk about what you’ve studied with other believers. If you have questions, ask your Pastor. Read books on the topics you’re covering in your study. Watch films, like God’s not Dead. After all study isn’t just reading it’s also comprehending.
Study increases your understanding of God and equips you to defend your faith. It’s a win-win. What better reason to make it part of your daily routine.
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
Fellowship. It has been said that a lone Christian is a paralyzed Christian. This would seem to be the case. If you don’t surround yourself with a group of believers, how can you discuss what you’ve studied? Who will help when you need it? Who else understands the challenges of being a believer in a world that doesn’t believe? Fellowship gives you a support system. Not to mention a place to learn and teach.
Going to church is not enough, especially if you attend a so called “mega-church”. You need to have a small group of believers that you meet with often. Whether it is a Bible study, a lunch or even a backyard barbecue. The reason for the get together doesn’t matter. The time spent in each others’ company does.
These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 19-21
Pray. Jude, in a very short book (only a single chapter), exhorts us to build our relationship with the Lord, to continue to pray, keep in God’s love and look for Christ’s mercy. He says to do all that in the midst of the distractions and divisions caused by the “sensual persons” of the world. That word, sensual, is defined as 1) relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite; 2a) devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites; 2b) voluptuous; 2c) deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests. It sounds like a definition of the modern world to me. Just watching commercials on television seems to confirm that this world is a sensual one rather than a spiritual one.
As Christians, we need to follow Jude’s advice, his exhortation. Pray! Prayer helps you build your relationship with God. It is communication with him, and what better way to build a relationship than to communicate.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:8-9
Love. In the film Joshua, based on the book by Joseph F. Girzone, the title character describes the Bible as a “Love Letter”. A letter of love to God’s people, but I think it’s more than that. I think it is also a letter encouraging us to love. To love God; to love our neighbors; to love our enemies. Basically, to love all!!!
Love God. Love your family. Love the believers. Love the unbelievers. Love your enemies. “Love those who hate you.” Love everyone. Love all people, whether they love you or not! Even those that would take your life for your belief.
Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.
–C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Stand Firm. Don’t turn your back on your faith. Not because you are mocked. Not because you are hated. Not even because your life is at risk. Embrace the hardships and the risks because they are what really test the reality of your belief. We need to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” we need to stay strong, stand firm and not be moved. Remember, God is NOT Dead!! We can’t act like he is just because we’re afraid of what others may think or do.