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Make yourself a target
Standing up for Jesus means standing out for Him.
Have you ever played paintball? The few times I’ve done it, I’ve had a good time. (Even when a certain now-missionary-to-Guatemala shot me point blank in the chest repeatedly, thank you very much.)
One thing I learned about paintball very quickly is that it’s difficult to blend in to your surroundings if you aren’t actively trying to hide. Maybe it’s because I like bright colors. Maybe it’s because I just don’t move quietly.
Regardless, I always get hit. And most of the time it’s because I stand out too much.
The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
People don’t like different. It’s human nature to homogenize, and the dissenters tend to get pounded down like a nail sticking out of a board.
It’s true, there are times where conformity is essential for success. But when it comes to being human, those times are few and far between. And when it comes to following Jesus, I think you’ll find frequently that you’re the nail sticking out.
When you stick out, you won’t fit in. You won’t agree. You won’t gel. And that’s uncomfortable. Living that way takes courage, because anyone can see you’re different. And different doesn’t always go over well.
Jesus told His followers repeatedly that the world would hate them, because the world hates Him. Regardless if you’ve experienced hate, I would bet you’ve experienced ridicule for your Christian faith.
Living courageously means continuing to follow Jesus, knowing there’s a target on your back. It can be scary. If you can’t blend in, you’ll stand out. If you aren’t actively trying to hide, you’ll be easy to spot. But there’s a reason one of the pieces of God’s Armor is a shield.
So be courageous. Make yourself a target. Let God deflect the attacks.
Questions for Reflection:
Have you ever felt targeted because of your faith?
How do you feel when you are singled out for what you believe?
Has anyone ever asked you why you believe the way you do?
Weekly Memory Verse: