Living Faithfully In Tough Times

-By Mitch Prosser, Interim President of Palmetto Family Council
It takes little convincing to help most Christians walking through life to understand that we are living in tough times. In fact, most Christ-followers regularly feel the frustration and sense the struggle of daily living. Plainly stated, there is a war raging all around us and what we are feeling are the seismic waves reverberating from an epicenter of evil. All of this leaves Christians asking, “How am I to live faithfully in the middle of tough times?”

In order to answer that question, it is vital for us to understand and remember a few simple ideas. To live faithfully in these difficult days, we must:
•Know our Identity,
•Understand what we are doing here,
•And embrace what it means to live out our God-given purpose.

Who am I?

Perhaps the better question to be asked is not “Who am I”, but “Whose am I.”  That’s right! The Christian not only has an identity, but a belonging. I am a Child of the King. My identity is found not only in the fact that I am a follower of Christ, but that I am His and He is mine.

The Apostle Peter said it this way in 1 Peter 2:
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Notice what he says at the end of verse 9! “A people of his own possession…” God called us away from the things of this world and to Himself. God has not only established that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation; He declares us to be His. We belong to God.

So what does this belonging mean for us? Verse 9 and 10 goes on to tell us that we are to “proclaim (or demonstrate) the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” This passage fits well with Ephesians 2:10 when Paul tells us that we are God’s “workmanship.” God has set us apart so that we can be seen, not for our own benefit or admiration, but that the world around us can clearly see the truth, righteousness, goodness, grace, and mercy of Him who set us apart. In the same way that a painting by Van Gough clearly displays the marks of its maker and Shakesperean sonnet beautifully speaks the words of its writer, the Christian is a demonstration of Christ on this earth.

Understanding who and whose we are will affect the way we walk and work in this world. In the tempest of tough times, our identity will be shown in what we value. As Christians we will have to determine if we value our citizenship more in an earthly country like the United States or our citizenship in Heaven. This isn’t to say that we are unpatriotic or anti-establishment, however when making decisions in tough times, we will have to choose where our loyalties and allegiances belong.

When the pressure of the culture pushes you to decide, will you choose to ally with a political party, organization, or group over our belonging as citizens of Heaven? Clearly stated, as citizens of God’s Kingdom living in this world, we will never be able to fully agree with any man-made establishment, party, or creed. Why? Because they will always fall short of the perfect standard of God’s Word. This doesn’t mean that we walk around with a hyper-critical spirit bludgeoning and belittling every person, place, or party. Walking as one who belongs to God through the blood of His Son Jesus does mean that we never surrender to the pressure to go along with the world and its ideas to get along with those that seek to pull us away from biblical principles.

Peter goes on in verses 11 and 12 of 1 Peter chapter 2:
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Some translations use “heathen” instead of “Gentiles” in verse 12. There is a clear distinction drawn by the apostle between those that that are God’s and those who are “heathen” and “evildoers.” The purpose of the distinction is obvious in that we are to clearly demonstrate by our goodness that God is righteous so that others may be drawn to Him.

Our calling is to be faithful to God in good times and in bad. God has given us the opportunity to shine the Light He has placed inside of us in the darkness of this world. Even though the times we live in are tough and may get tougher, we are to remain faithful to our Father in Heaven.

In the next article on “Living Faithfully in Tough Times” we will explore what we are doing here on earth and how our role is crucial to God’s plan.

-Adapted from a devotion given by Professor Jeffery Brauch, Regent University School of Law

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