by Mike Ratliff
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness ‘sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:12-17 ESV)
As I write this I am 62 years old and have been part of American Christianity my whole life either as a small child being taken to Church by my parents or as a young boy in Sunday School and later as a teenager in the Youth Group at Church. When I became a young adult I left all that, but God had other plans. When I was in my early 30’s I found myself with a wife and two small children going to a local Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma every Sunday and through that God caused the proclamation of the Gospel to finally work and He had mercy on me. Through all that I had gained much knowledge of how intertwined Evangelicalism is in the culture in Oklahoma. I knew this even when I was in rebellion and having nothing to do with “Church.” When God drew me to Himself in 1985-1986 and made me into a New Creation I still retained that “knowledge,” but now my focus was not on it, but on my Lord. From that point until early in this new Century I never thought I would see the throwing off of the moral covering in our society that comes from our culture being so intertwined with the knowledge of God and His truth. What amazes me the most though is how so many in so-called “Churches” are fully participating in this rebellion.
Since I first began this ministry back in 2006 some of the most ugly attacks have come from professing Christians. Also, there would be times when the ugliness of the attacks from those who opposed God’s Truth that we presented here would cause me a level of anguish that seemed to be about to overwhelm me. The very fact that a group of people was bound and determined to shut this blog down and silence me would nearly paralyze me. However, as God taught me, over time, how to work through these things in total dependence on Him, I was able to see that the anguish or fear or whatever it was, was really part of the attack coming from our enemy. When I would tell the truth then endure the attacks the fear would always be part of that. However, when I went through them while being led by the Spirit in total dependence on my Lord for His wisdom and discernment in the midst of the fiery trial, I was able to then look back on those events after the fact and wonder at why I was so fearful. It was then that God gave me the wisdom to see that everything was being blown out of proportion the more I was focused on me and what the outcome would be for me and this ministry, but when I was focused on His Truth and the fact that what I was doing was for His glory alone the attacks became meaningless to me. I was willing to endure anything for my Lord’s glory and was able to bear it all in the power of the Holy Spirit.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. (Proverbs 3:25-26 ESV)
25 καὶ οὐ φοβηθήσῃ πτόησιν ἐπελθοῦσαν οὐδὲ ὁρμὰς ἀσεβῶν ἐπερχομένας· 26 ὁ γὰρ κύριος ἔσται ἐπὶ πασῶν ὁδῶν σου καὶ ἐρείσει σὸν πόδα, ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῇς. (Proverbs 3:25-26 LXX)
25 And (και) you shall not (ου) be afraid (φοβηθηση) of terror (πτοησιν) coming upon (επελθουσαν), nor (ουδε) the thrusting (ορμας) of the impious (ασεβων) coming upon (επερχομενας). 26 For the (ο γαρ) lord (κυριος) will be (εσται) over (επι) all (πασων) your (σον) ways (οδων), and (και) he shall establish (ερεισει) your (σον) foot (ποδα) that (ινα) you should not (μη) be shaken (σαλευθης). (Proverbs 3:25-26 word-for-word translation from the Septuagint to English)
These two verses are designed by God to be an encouragement to believers to walk in God’s wisdom rather than by mere sight, i.e. walk by faith, not by sight. Why? The impious, ασεβων, who are those who are devoid of reverential awe of God, may indeed cause us pain, anguish, and even fear at times, but they are under the hand of God’s judgment and we are not to fear the ruin that is coming upon them. That judgment is for the ασεβων not those whose confidence is truly in the Lord. The Lord will keep those who walk in this wisdom from their foot being caught. How? ο γαρ κυριος εσται επι πασων οδων σου και ερεισει σον ποδα ινα μη σαλευθης; for the Lord will be over all their ways and he shall establish their foot that they should not be shaken. This is telling us that if we will walk in obedience to the Lord, by faith and not by sight, He will sustain us and keep us from been afraid of sudden terror. The enemy may indeed raise up his servants to attack the Lord’s Truth, saying all kinds of evil about us and attacking us in ways that no one controlled by the Holy Spirit would do, however, even in this, our trust is in the Lord and so we are able to endure it all for it is for His glory and what happens to us or our ministries through this is not important.
I know that many reading this have been intimidated in the past by those opposed to the truth to keep silent and believe that the humble thing to do is not confront evil. However, we are actually commanded to be bold and stand firm against all who oppose God’s truth. We are told to do all for God’s glory and understand that God may indeed allow us to suffer for it (see the passage I placed at the top of this post), but that is okay for He is glorified in this.
Soli Deo Gloria!