Today’s readings: 2 Kings 18:28-37; 1 Corinthians 9:1-15; Matthew 7:22-29
Persecution and temptation come in many forms. In 1 Kings, Judah is facing the Assyrian army and is being forced to choose; submit to the Assyrian king or trust in God. They choose to trust God and He delivers them. We see the extreme forms of persecution in the news where radical followers of Islam behead faithful Christians for refusing to renounce their faith. Thank God for these martyrs who set the example for us. But what about the more subtle forms of persecution?
Our children are ridiculed for their faith for refusing to “go with the crowd” and take drugs, engage in sex before marriage, or participate in illegal activities. Adults are tempted in all sorts of ways to place any number of idols — money, power, prestige, social standing — ahead of their Christian faith. And now, confessional Christians are being forced to choose between the popular teachings of same-sex marriages and their call, job, or business. How will we respond?
Will we submit to peer pressure, the temptations of the world, or popular teaching rather than the teachings found in the Bible? Or will we place our trust in God to strengthen us in times of persecution?
Prayer: Holy God, keep me steadfast in your Word, that I may always follow you. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Steven King, Pastor of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lincolnton, NC.