Accepted by God; Rejected by the World
“Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”Acts 7:58-60 ESV
As believers and followers of Jesus we can expect resistance and persecution. The spirit of anti-Christ is vehemently opposed to Jesus, His church, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.
Becoming a believer means, on one hand, that you are accepted, loved, and valued as a part of God’s family. On the other hand, however, you will be increasingly rejected, questioned, ridiculed, and mocked by satan, his demons, and worldly people.
If you are not experiencing some level of tension between your values and the world’s values, you are likely compromising in some areas of your life.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that believers should walk around holier-than-thou or pridefully attacking people of the world. We ought to walk in grace, be kind, be generous, and show the love of God; but we also must stand for truth, live authentic lives to please God, and be willing to be persecuted for our faith in Jesus Christ.
Although persecution and resistance are to be expected in the life of a believer, we must also keep in mind that during those times, Jesus is very close to us and blesses us in unimaginable ways. Stephen, thenchurch’s first martyr, was able to look up, while being stoned to death, and see Jesus standing, awaiting his arrival. He even had the grace to extend forgivness to his executers.
It reminds me of what Jesus said:
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 ESV