So what exactly were the apostles doing that would land them in jail? It tells us that they were performing many miraculous signs and wonders…healing the sick and tormented…and that many were coming to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were doing good stuff, but they were also persecuted for it. Contention within the Body can degenerate into negative emotions that desire to make war against the good they see others doing…simply because it’s not them performing it. They feel threatened, so they attempt to discount and belittle rather than praising God for what He’s doing. Doing good regardless…it tells us in I Peter 3:17 that we may have to suffer in doing good…and that we shouldn’t become weary in doing it. (Galatians 6:9) I pray we all may have the boldness to continue doing good no matter the cost.
Maybe this has happened to you – You’re with a group of friends and the discussion takes a very uncomfortable twist against what you believe as a Christian. You know you should say something…but you don’t out of fear or awkwardness. Then you spend the rest of the night kicking yourself for being such a coward. It’s not that you blatantly denied or rejected Jesus in public…but in a way, you did. Speaking out about the fact and truth of the Gospel is hard, and rejection by some is inevitable…but that shouldn’t silence us from speaking out about what we believe in.
Are you walking around with a hardened heart? When we’ve been hurt over and over again, our only recourse is to protect our heart…our inner person. We put up a wall of callousness and apathy so no one can hurt us again. It’s effective, but makes us appear uncaring and insensitive to others. It’s also really lonely within those walls…but we’re too afraid and distrustful to allow anyone in…so instead, we put on the mask of indifference.
But you may also be walking around with a hardened heart from sin. Everything is going great… you can make it on your own…you don’t need the Lord. But obstinately refusing God will only lead to destruction.