behold, i am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the gentiles. when they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [matthew 10:16-20]
the hour of testing. we all think about it. some of us dread it, but maybe some of us wish we could experience it to see what would come out. would we stand our ground and proclaim Christ in the face of danger or death? or would we give in, give him up, and recant our faith?
many who have gone before us faced danger and persecution that we can hardly imagine. among them was a young woman named blandina, who is known for days upon days of torture, grueling questioning by the emperor, forced to watch many of her companions face torture and death. clinging to Christ Jesus through it all and encouraging her fellow martyrs to do the same, she was finally gouged by a steer, and when that failed to kill her, a guard with a dagger sent her home to her Lord.
many of us will never find ourselves in moments like these. perhaps some of us will. but we are all faced with the same choice as blandina every day. through trial and temptation, will i cling to Christ? will i choose him or set him aside to make my life a little easier? will i choose Christ or go ahead and watch this movie to fit in with my friends? will i choose Christ or will i go ahead and date this unbeliever? will i choose Christ or will i gossip at work? will i choose Christ or will i condone the thinking of the world?
in these moments, what will make the difference is whether or not we have been walking in the Spirit. this verse says it is the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. but the Spirit is not a genie in a bottle, who we can put away until we need him. the rivers of living water do not flow from a dry well. it comes from a constant and consistent drinking from the source. drawing near and communing with the Spirit through his word and through prayer. adoring, confessing, thanking, asking for help and for his movement. seeking his wisdom through knowledge of his word. this is what it means to walk in the Spirit. but i say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [galatians 5:16] with this daily drinking from the well of living water, the Spirit and his fruit will flow from us in moments of temptation. and it’s the consistent walking by the Spirit in these little moments that will lead to big movement of the Spirit in big moments. maybe even big moments like those of blandina.
may we not be blind to the wolves surrounding us. may we seek discernment in a broken and fallen world and be innocent as doves! may we cling to Christ daily and him alone, proclaiming his gospel of hope to a world who has no hope. for his kingdom. for his glory.
~ arwen eastman