During World War II, Lutheran pastor, and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was one of a few Christians who actively opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi oppression of the Jews. While in Germany, Bonhoeffer courageously sought to free as many Jews as possible from Nazism despite being openly criticized by fellow church leaders who refused to openly oppose the Nazi regime. At one point, he even participated in a botched plot to assassinate Hitler, a decision that would ultimately lead to his imprisonment and execution.
After his death, his writings in prison were collected and eventually published as Letter and Papers from Prison (1953) in which is contained these telling words, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy of standing firm for Christ in the face of persecution was not only a symbol of hope to many Christians during the war, but still is today for Christians around the world.
Similarly, the church today is fighting a battle on many fronts with an increasingly hostile culture pressing in. Christians are being mocked for their morals and values and the secular world around us is indifferent to God’s truths in Scripture. The question we each must ask ourselves is, “will I be able to withstand the pressure or possible persecution?” We want to be able to stand firm, but we also want to be accepted so it’s difficult to know, do, or say the right things.
Three remarkable examples in Scripture of standing firm in your beliefs and convictions in a wayward culture are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I call these men ‘firewalkers,’ who resisted allowing the dominant culture to reshape their identities or erode their convictions no matter the consequences. For them, their resistance meant imminent death in the fiery furnace, a price they were willing to pay for their convictions. God isn’t looking for the strong, He’s looking for the faithful. Is that you?
Today, I’m pausing to smile at God’s gifts to me in my wife Dee, our three children, and four grandchildren. It’s so easy to overlook these simple joys when I look at the landscape of our world today. I can easily get discouraged and forget to see the bigger picture of God’s never-ending goodness amid the challenges. I’d love for you to join me this year in being more intentional to look for those simple gifts in your own life so that together, we can become grateful people that this world so desperately needs!
“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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Mark Jobe serves as president of Moody Bible Institute and host of Moody Radio's Bold Steps. He is the author of Unstuck: Out of Your Cave into Your Call (Moody Publishers). He is also the founding pastor of New Life Community Church, a Chicago-based ministry with 27 locations throughout Chicago. Mark earned a diploma from Moody in 1984, a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He and his wife, Dee, have three adult children.
Bold Steps with Dr. Mark Jobe takes you on the path to freedom and authenticity in Christ. With candid, topical teaching from God’s Word, Dr. Jobe offers simple gospel messages with the power to transform your life.