Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.
There are many examples of suffering and persecution against Christians in this country. I list several of those cases in my book “Countdown to the Apocalypse.” Today I will mention a few to you.
In New Mexico, Christian photographers were sued by two lesbians under the state’s sexual orientation law after declining to photograph the lesbians’ commitment ceremony. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a teacher at Park Lakes Elementary School sternly ordered a fifth-grader to stop reading his Bible during free reading time. The teacher then left a voice mail for the boy’s father, telling him those books were not allowed in her classroom. A colonel’s column was removed from an Air Force National Guard newsletter because the writer violated military policy by including references to Jesus Christ. Two ministers in Ohio who own The Hitching Post wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine. A pro-life nurse at a hospital in New York was forced to participate in a late-term abortion even though the hospital had agreed in writing to honor her religious convictions not to participate in those abortions. The Dallas VA Medical Center blocked local school children from giving Christmas cards to veterans because some of the cards included the words “Merry Christmas” and “God bless you.” A Christian T-shirt maker in Kentucky was targeted by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission for refusing to print Gay Pride designs for a local homosexual group. And on and on it goes. It is just beginning. And we shouldn’t be surprised.
Yet with this coming persecution comes a tremendous opportunity for the people of God. In Philippians 2:15-16, Paul was writing to a culture that was even more decadent than ours. He said, “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” Paul was saying, “It’s getting dark out there, but remember this: the darker the background, the brighter the light.”
As this world becomes darker, the light of the gospel shines even more brightly. That’s why it is imperative that we take advantage of that light. Jesus said in John 9:4, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” The darkness of the world provides us a great opportunity to share the hope of Jesus Christ. And never forget this: the night will be the very darkest just before the dawn of Christ’s appearing.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Christians in the Crosshairs” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Robert Jeffress, “Countdown to the Apocalypse” (Nashville: FaithWords, 2015), 73-74.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.