One of my favorite things is chocolate; and I will tell anyone who will listen. I talk about it a good deal of the time. When we take members of Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community on retreats, I always take M&M’s and let people know that they are my heart pills. Of course, it is a documented fact that the flavonoids in chocolate have great medical benefits.
But even with the health benefits, chocolate won’t change anyone’s life. I want to have more courage to stand for the thing that will radically change the life of others. This is obviously a long-standing concern. Paul wrote in II Thessalonians 2:15, “So, brothers and sisters, stand strong and continue to believe the teachings we gave you in our speaking and in our letter.”
We all remember the story of Gideon which is found in Judges 6-8. The Midianites were ruling over his country. God told Gideon to become a mighty warrior and to fight Midianites. “There were so many of them they seemed like locusts. Their camels could not be counted because they were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore!” (Judges 7:12 NCV).
Gideon was able to fight against an entire army with only 300 men because he was willing to stand up for God. Gideon and his minute army did not even have to fight but to stand with a trumpet, a pitcher and a candle.
It is an interesting fact, that God almost never wants us to fight with others about our faith. Sometimes the Lord merely wants us to stand firm in what we believe about Him. In the work place, we should be Christ-like; but most of the time would be wise to refrain from talking about Jesus. In these cases, standing firm is not a cop out. It may be what we need to do.
Years ago, when I would get together with a group of housewives in the neighborhood, their language would turn vile. Because they never spoke this way when we were visiting one-on-one, I complained to a good friend. I said that I was going to tell the group of ladies that I didn’t like it. My friend said, quietly, “Don’t correct them. Just don’t use bad language yourself. They will know that you don’t like it.”
- Don‘t join in when others are sinning.
- Don’t talk when other are gossiping–change the subject. I was convicted of gossiping because of the example of a good friend who would not join into the gossip frey.
- Smile and be polite but don‘t change how you act or feel.
Standing firm may not as hard as sharing the gospel message with a person face-to-face. But there are times when it is precisely what God wants us to do.
Do you find it harder to keep your opinions to yourself when others are vocally wrong or do you find speaking our the more difficult choice?