Lessons from Wurmbrand and the Ephesian church

At church this past Sunday, as the Pastor was teaching through a section of Acts 19, something he said really caught me. He said something to the effect of, “The Ephesian believers didn’t protest the propagation of idols in Ephesus, they simply lived out the message and preached the Word.”

When he said that I was reminded of an article I read in my free monthly newsletter from VOM for January 2009. It’s the first article in the publication, which is always a letter from the director of VOM, Dr. Tom White.
Dr. White wrote about finding the window in the wall of our lives when we seem to be restrained by human laws or opposition to living out our faith in Christ. The article made me realize something I, as an American Christian, am very weak in. My faith hasn’t been opposed much and when it is I have this knee-jerk reaction of protesting and using the governmental system to fight for my “religious rights.”

Dr. White wrote this of Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of VOM:

Richard Wurmbrand used to annoy some Christians about their campaign to restore prayer in schools. Mystified, he would say, “Why do you need a campaign? Just have your children bow their heads and pray.” We become so worried about legal walls and petty penalties that we forget there is always a window, even when there are trivial earthly consequences.

MMM-mmm! I’m convicted. In my own marriage I tend to get all bent outta shape and start demanding my rights as a wife when I get sideways looks, or probing questions, concerning what I do by faith following Christ. But rather than getting upset that I’m not free to worship as I please, I should praise God that I AM free to worship as I please and embrace the opposition as an opportunity to let God’s Spirit of grace and truth be seen in me.

Like my brothers and sisters of old in Ephesus, the land I live in is filled with idols. But rather than staging a protest or pointing a finger, let me follow their example and press on praying, worshipping the Lord, reaching out a hand of mercy and humbly, yet boldly, speaking God’s truth.

Oh Father, it really comes down to why we’re worshipping (why I’m worshipping). Are we living as Christians so we can have a good conservative life in America? Am I living as a Christian so I can have a good conservative marriage? Or are we living as Christians so that we might be light in this dark world and possibly draw others to come to You? (Am I living as a Christian wife so I can be a light in this house and possibly draw my family to Jesus?) Help me Jesus. Help me to rejoice at opposition not protest it. Help me to fix my face towards heaven yet reach out merciful hands on this earth.

Redeeming the time

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