"Do not be afraid; keep on speaking ... For I am with you, and no one is going to ... harm you." Acts 18:9-10
Persecution does not always come from people who are outside the faith. The Jews who opposed Paul in Corinth had grown up believing in the God of Abraham, just as Paul had. But they insulted Paul because he was now testifying that this same God had sent Jesus as their promised Messiah. Paul must have been a bit intimidated by the violence of the people's arguments. In his sleep, Paul heard the Lord speak to him in a vision. The Lord encouraged Paul, promising to be with him and assuring him that no one would harm him in that city. The Lord wanted Paul to keep preaching the good news in Corinth, because God had many people to bring to himself in that community.
We might not be persecuted as Paul was, but often we are faced with opposition because of our faith in Christ. For example, even though Christians in North America do not face open persecution for their faith, they can sometimes be intimidated to keep their faith to themselves in public places. Many of us are tempted to keep quiet and not witness about our faith. But Jesus encourages us to keep living and talking about our faith in him because there are many unbelievers he wants to bring into the family of God.
What person or situation intimidates you? The Lord promises to be with you.
Lord, help us not to keep quiet today, but to quietly be your faithful witnesses everywhere. Assure us that you are with us and that we need not be afraid. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!