Philippians 1:27-2:30, Psalm 90
Many action movies contain scenes where the hero is held hostage by a villian who must be stopped before causing catastrophic trouble. In those scenes, the protagonist often evinces great self-assurance in spite of all odds. Of course, it is easy for actors, not to mention a full set of make-up artists and lighting specialists to convey this incredible confidence. The apostle Paul suggests that people in real life, believers in Christ, can show bona fide courage in the face of harmful opposition (Philippians 1:27). When Jesus’ followers show steadfastness against oppression, it presents to their abusers “a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved.” (Philippians 1:28) Better than a movie actor, a Christian genuinely believes that if anyone actually takes their lives, they still will be rescued by God. Through faith in Jesus we are able to keep our very souls (Mark 8:36). So, when mistreated we are not only to handle persecution well because God works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) or because suffering produces perseverance and maturity (James 1:2-4). Of course this is great news. But we also have opportunity to demonstrate our confidence that whatever harm someone can do to us in the body, God will spare us while our attackers remain very much in danger. If someone does evil to us, they will see God’s power at work, and that is great news to those that love the Lord and want our world to know the majesty of the Lord Most High.