How will the church of Jesus Christ respond when the things that the church must believe are considered laughable, backwards, or worse?

It’s always been the case that Christianity has been derided by some. But now it’s not just people in far off Hollywood or in far away academia. It’s people next door. It’s the people you work with, the people you live with, the people you go to school with. How will the church of Jesus Christ respond when so many of those around us tell us that what we believe is repugnant? What will we do when we are the moral minority?

You cannot plan for opposition, at least not in the way we might think. You cannot plan for it by ruminating and worrying about it, or by making yourself miserable now so you’ll be prepared to suffer later, or by fearfully anticipating the worse in every situation.

The only way to prepare for persecution (however big or small) is to trust that if that day comes there will be new mercies on that morning for you. The only way to prepare to walk with Jesus on that day is to walk with him on this day.

The best preparation is not to meditate on yourself. What would I be like if I were persecuted? Would I be a coward? Will I be terrified?  Sometimes we think, “If I suffer or get cancer or something bad happens to me, I’d be a wreck. I won’t be able to handle it. If persecution comes my way, or people think poorly of me, or if I have to deal with hatred in the classroom, I will surely fail.” But that’s putting the focus in the wrong place. The answer is not to meditate on yourself, but to meditate on Christ.

If you want to have a face like an angel on the day of trial, you need to reflect the glory of God now.

If you want to see the Son of God in the clouds on your last day, you need to look upon the face of the Son of God on this day.

Be full of faith. Be full of wisdom. And pray for the Holy Spirit that you may know Christ richly, love him sweetly, and be assured of his grace and mercy to you at all times. If that is deep in your hearts, then how could you possibly deny him? How could you turn from him? How could you reject Him? He is your only comfort in life and in death.

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19 thoughts on “How to Prepare For Hostility”

  1. Mark 8:38 became one of the most profound verses for me this past summer.

  2. dwainlove says:

    Good points Kevin. We are not to worry or be anxious about anything. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. That includes enduring persecution and suffering. Thank You

  3. Kip says:

    We were just discussing this in my men’s group this morning. For me, I have become more rooted by self-education and reading works by Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, Colson, Pearcey, books on ID (Meyer, Behe, etc) and others. (This doesn’t exclude reading the Bible.) The more I read, the more convinced I am of the Creator and His wisdom and the more I am able to articulate my faith. I don’t think enough Christians read and improve their minds, which leaves one open to the surge of emotions.

  4. Wesley says:

    If you want to have a face like an angel on the day of trial, you need to reflect the glory of God now.

    If you want to see the Son of God in the clouds on your last day, you need to look upon the face of the Son of God on this day.

    This is just money KD. so well said and so penetrating. Appreciate this word of prep for future help.
    God speed.
    W.

  5. Ann says:

    Kevin, I have read your blog for a while. Thank you for sharing your insights and the wisdom God has given you. Such a timely message!

  6. Lois W says:

    One of your best blogs ever! Amen and Amen! Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. We need to fight today’s battle and know God’s grace anew, today.

  7. Years ago I heard the hymn “He Giveth More Grace” for the first time. I think the writer was sharing that when we hear people saying, “I could never go through that…” that what they forget is that “He giveth more grace” when we face the very thing we think we could not hold up under. Here are those lyrics:

    He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
    Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
    His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

  8. Good thoughts. Another important consideration is to learn how to answer people in ways that are “always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6).

    Aim to engage not ignite. Answer people not questions. Respond to God; Don’t react to man. Some believers feel a need to defend the truth with a polemical tone no matter how it’s understood. Only speak with the compassion of the gospel, as one who found an undeserving place in God’s mercy (see: Titus 3:1-5).

    As an exiled people (Philippians 3:18-21; I Peter 2:11-12), it’s tempting to take a shelter mentality, to view this life as just a hold over to wait the next life. But such a mindset is an abrogation of the call to be salt to the earth and light to the world. Jesus taught that our influence of preservation and illumination is essential to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). It’s not so much a matter of duty as one of identity. “You are the salt; You are the light….”

  9. George W says:

    When you have an opportunity: slowly and thoughtfully read through the Book of Job,one or two chapters at a time. It is filled with the many kinds of situations that we all encounter in life. Personal applications can be applied for situations you yourself encounter.

  10. Simon says:

    ” What will we do when we are the moral minority?”

    This statement made me reflect on the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
    After reading Timothy Keller’s excellent book, “The Prodigal God”, I’m inclined to think that statment is misplaced.
    Identifying ourselves as somehow the keepers of morality in society can be dangerous. It elevates it’s significance and we risk being like the older brother – pride in our moral observance and obeyance of the law. If we are like him we are also like the Pharasees and Jesus reserved his harshest criticism for these.
    The other observation is there are many morally upright people that do not know Christ. I realise I am being pedantic here but think it worthwhile to make the distinction.
    If I am persecuted for being moral then much of the world too is in trouble.
    If I am persecuted for unwaivering commitment to Christ, blessed am I!
    “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
    Matthew 5v11&12

  11. David Volsky says:

    Probably the most important blog I’ve read lately. Something I really need to meditate upon. Thank you.

  12. Diane J Wallace says:

    YES!

  13. Gordon King says:

    So, so true brother. That is what I have been telling people through my website. Now is the time to accept Jesus. Now is the time to be walking with him daily. Our sight must be on God. Not on the things of this world. We must remember at all times that God is with us. I fear not because God is with me!
    Amen, Praise the Lord! ;-)

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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