Must Be Doing Something Right
Day 2587 of the 7 day Bible verse challenge. Acts 13:45. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. NIV
I’ve been reading through Acts for a few nights now and one of the topics that has really stood out this time through is jealousy. People jealous of the success that the Apostles are having. The leaders jealous of the crowds the Apostles we’re gathering. Jealousy is one of the most powerful feelings because it has this personal aspect to it that makes people feel as if they’re being attacked, or as if their power or authority is being questioned, or maybe it just points out something that they’ve tried to ignore.
This whole jealousy thing has had me thinking. I think that it’s one of the biggest reasons that the world hates Christianity with such fervor. It’s one of the biggest reasons that so many seem so willing to do whatever it takes to silence those of us who are following Christ. We’ve been talking about hatred and persecution for a few days, and having read all these stories about the jealousy that the Apostles faced back then, I can’t help but see the similarities today.
Sadly, our world has become a very angry and bitter place. So many people are just unhappy with their lives, with themselves, with everything. But rather than doing something about it, rather than addressing the underlying problems, they turn their anger and disappointment outward. They look for those who are happy and try to bring them down. They look for those who are passionate about something and try to turn others against them so that their passion wanes. They seek out anyone who is successful in anything and try to undermine their work so that they don’t have to feel alone in their sorry state of living.
That’s why we face so much hatred and judgement as Christians. This world hates anything that’s good. It loathes anyone who speaks the truth. It will try whatever it can to put an end to the joy, the peace, the righteousness that followers of Christ are pursuing. It’s a really sad thing, but it’s seriously more common than we might imagine. People don’t want to get better themselves because growth and improvement take work. So rather than putting in any effort to better their own lives, they’ll just put that energy into tearing down anyone who’s actually trying.
So when the world around us sees the light of Christ in our hearts, they’ll throw even more darkness at us to try and hide it. When they see us doing good things and having a positive impact in the world around us, they’ll spread lies and launch vicious attacks aimed at our credibility. And the further we go down this road of righteousness, the more closely we follow Christ, the more boldly we share the Gospel, the more hatred and persecution we’re going to face.
The world doesn’t want us to succeed because it reminds them that their failing. Those blinded to the truth won’t tolerate our sharing of it because it’s a reminder that they’re wrong. Anyone who is lost in the dark and settled for staying there can’t stand those who are fighting to set people free because it makes them to realize that they too are enslaved to sin and wickedness. So many know deep down that they’re not who they want to be or where they want to be, but they just want to ignore that fact because ignoring it is easier than working to fix it.
The fact of the matter is that we’re called to be everything that this world isn’t. We’re following a Savior who embodies everything this wicked place hates. The jealousy we’ll encounter will be uncomfortable, hurtful, and could very well undermine what we’re trying to do or even cause us to question our faith and eventually quit trying. Do not let that happen. Do not give the hatred of this world the satisfaction of stopping you or the work that Christ has called to you to do.
It’s not an easy road, but it’s one that we can walk if we set our hearts to it. There will always be those who don’t like what we’re doing because it’s proof they’re not doing anything. That’s on them. You do you. You do what God has called you to do. You do what you know in your heart is right and if the world hates you for it, then consider yourself lucky. Wear that hatred and jealousy as a badge of honor that testifies that you’re doing something special.