Oftentimes, Christians feel called to serve in spaces that appear unwelcome to their faith. We see missionaries do this by traveling to foreign countries or setting up “mission fields” in their own neighborhoods, but less obvious situations can be challenging, too. Workplaces, social circles and family dynamics can all be places where we must learn to maintain our faith in the face of hidden adversity.
It is easy to assume that the secular aspects of the world will inevitably affect someone’s personal faith and lead us to question his or her treasured and tried beliefs. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Our faith can be strengthened in the midst of trials—and scripture even tells us that this is the case. 1 Peter 4:16-19 makes this point clear.
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name….So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Additionally, in Matthew 5:11, Jesus even tells his disciples this will be the case for them. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
He doesn’t say “if,” he says, “when.”
But the reality is that we do not enter into this space alone. Even if we are afraid to engage in areas that may at times seem impervious to Christianity, it is important that we do so. Jesus dined with people that were fully immersed in the sinful, secular world. He did so with love and grace, but also told them to turn away from their ways and follow Him instead. If we do not engage with people who disagree with us for fear of losing our faith, then we may miss out on the opportunities God sets before us to make a difference for Him.
The world needs the message of the gospel, but if we shy away because we are afraid that our faith will be weakened, then how much do we really trust God to be with us through the times of trials, as He has promised?
It is okay to be afraid to enter into spaces where Christians may be unwelcome, but it is wrong to let this fear steer us away from where we feel led by God.