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When Darkness Threatens

Updated: Apr 11

By Paula Lube

As we find ourselves surrounded by an increasingly pagan culture, it’s easy to become discouraged, and in turn, respond by closing yourself off and living in a Christian bubble. If you’re tempted to do this, please remember what God’s Word and history tell us – God does incredible things through His people, especially when the darkness threatens to take over.

That was certainly the case for the Christ-followers living in first-century Rome.

Because their belief in a new king was highly suspicious by those in power, Christians became a prime target of persecution. Some experienced imprisonment and property seizure. Others were beaten, or worse, murdered publicly in the most humiliating, cruel ways possible — thrown to wild animals for sport, even burned alive as living torches. Yet, they were encouraged with these words:

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12

These brothers and sisters knew to Whom they belonged. They knew that in Christ, they had already won despite the horrendous trials they faced here on earth. Therefore, they were able not only to persevere, but to minister—especially to those who fell outside of the very status-driven Roman society.

Because Christianity was for everyone, this body of believers welcomed people from all walks of life to join them in their family of faith. This included the working poor, who were often ignored and left without justice. It also, and very significantly, included babies who were “deformed,” which at that time meant they were unwanted for any reason. Knowing that Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14), Christians raised the forgotten infants as their own, or at least tended to them before they died and gave them a respectful burial.

A further testament to their faith included caring for the sick and dying during epidemics, when it is estimated that a quarter to a third of the population died. Caring and praying for others, even in the face of death, was possible for these Christ followers because of their experience with God’s ability to heal and the confidence they had for a glorious future with Jesus.

These are just a few of the examples of how the early believers reflected the light of Christ into their otherwise dark culture. The Word they had absorbed into their lives couldn’t help but be revealed as they shared the love and power of Jesus with the hurting, searching, longing people around them. They didn’t know it then, but their powerful witness would eventually change an entire culture!

What a beautiful picture this paints for us today. Like these early followers of Christ, we can serve without compromise because of the guarantee we have for our future. When we live to glorify God, our eyes will be opened to those who are physically and spiritually homeless so that we can offer them shelter in Christ Jesus. Our ears will hear the cries of those who long to be known fully and loved like our Savior has loved us.

Today, if you feel discouraged about the world around you, remember this: Christ has won, and you are gloriously equipped to seek out and serve those around you. Daily pray for how you can reveal what He has done for you! Maybe it’s an act of kindness that will allow a relationship to form so you can speak God’s Word into that person’s life. Maybe it’s just listening and asking questions, again with the hope of sharing how Christ made a difference for you. Perhaps you’ll be called to “adopt” someone whom others have given up on, to serve the poor, or to attend to the needs of the sick and lonely.

In all that you do, remember God’s Word and His deeds, and be encouraged to share them with others, knowing that your words and actions will be used to benefit the kingdom! Don’t let the darkness threaten you! Instead, hold out your light for everyone to see!

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Who knows how God will use your light!

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