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Listen while you read: "Higher Ground"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 22:12a – My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls. (NLT)
In life, we often feel as if we're under attack.
Tradition says that the running of the bulls began in northeastern Spain during the fourteenth century. Why people would want to run down a crowded street with angry bulls chasing them is beyond me. The thought of being trampled or gored isn't appealing. Even though goring happens, people still do it. I've also watched wolves, wild dogs, and coyotes attack their prey. With teeth bared and mouths salivating, they circle, blindside, and eventually pounce on their victims.
Whether he was or not, the psalmist felt surrounded by enemies. His words were prophetic of how Jesus would later feel when His enemies eventually called for His death. In many countries, even our own, Christians are under attack. The attack may involve jail time, beatings, or even death. Or it may be more subtle: assemblies for prayer being forbidden in schools, displays of the ten commandments being removed from public places, media ridiculing those who take a stand based on faith, or the promotion of immoral ways as a norm for living.
When under attack for our faith, we often overreact. We can spew hateful words against those who attack us or promote ungodly lifestyles. We can act as if we are better than they, and walk around with our religious noses in the air. Or we can withdraw like hermits and refuse to associate with anyone but our kind. There are, though, better responses.
Praying for strength to endure is crucial. God never promises to take persecution away. In fact, He tells believers that they will be persecuted. After all, Jesus was. He will, however, give strength to endure. Searching for God's will in how to react to the attacks is also essential. However we choose to respond, it should be with love.
We can have confidence when we're under attack. We've read the end of the Book. Good wins over evil. Believers triumph. Knowing that is not an excuse for a haughty attitude, but knowing it does help us respond to faith attacks with a different outlook.
Being attacked for our faith also gives us a reason to praise God. Such attacks on the exercise of faith are a witness for Him. If others are not attacking us in some manner, perhaps we're not as verbal about our faith as we should be.
How do you respond when under attack for your faith?
Prayer: Father, give us the strength to stand when we come under attack for our faith. Amen.
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Thanks Martin. Encouraging.
Thank you for your devotional today.
Thanks, Martin, for another of your special and very mindful devotionals. Yes, we need stay strong in our faith and always show respect for our Lord. Blessings for your writings.
Good morning, Martin,
I have never personally been attacked for my faith, but the subtle attacks by governments, which has taken place in the past and is still going on to some extent bothers me no end.
Like you say, there isn’t much we can do about it other than pray.
Dear Martin, Thank you for this reminder and insightful message. Last night I awoke once again fearful, praying for my husband’s cancer operation to go well. Hard scenarios streaming through my thoughts. I have peace generally about the results, some apprehension but feel confident in the surgeon’s hands being guided by God. I feel at night I have to pray away the panic, and fear. Again, thank you!
Good morning Martin
Thank you for this devotional today and it is or can be very serious how we handle this. Thankful we have the best role model and He is so faithful.
Here they do a thing with bulls also. There is a big area and they let a bull out of a container and different ones will go inside the walls of the area and then tease the bull so it charges. The guy jumps on or over the rock walls for safety but a couple of times the bull jumped also. An ambulance is called, and one guy had broken ribs, collar bone and lots of bruises. The other guy jumped over and landed in such a way he broke his leg and is still not able to work and that was 2 summers ago. Terceira is where it is more to do with bulls. I think it is so cruel and should be stopped but..
I pray you have a great weekend.
Thanks Martin! Great reassurance,
Thank you, Martin. This is both convicting and helpful!