There is a way to live as a Christian so that no one knows. I think they used to call it “closet Christians”. On one level I am not sure I blame someone for hiding their faith in a closet. The world is not a friend of Christ and so not a friend of Christ followers. So, if you stand up for something you run the risk of ridicule and pain. Hence some hide the light.
Jesus warned us that we would have trouble in this world if we live according to His word. He also told us that we cannot take His light and hide it under something. It is not an option.
Why then do some hide the light and remain closet Christians? What can they do to come out and let the world know where they stand? We get part of that answer here in Psalm 119 today.
Read: Psalm 119:17-24
17 Do good to your servant.
that I may live and obey your word.
18 Open my eyes,
that I may see wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a stranger on the earth.
Don’t hide your commandments from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times.
21 You have rebuked the proud who are cursed,
who wander from your commandments.
22 Take reproach and contempt away from me,
for I have kept your statutes.
23 Though princes sit and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Indeed your statutes are my delight,
and my counselors.
If you look at the big picture of this part of Psalm 119 you pick up a theme of persecution. David was challenged by the “proud who are cursed” (v.21). He was reproached, treated with contempt and slandered (v. 22, 23). But for what? Why was he treated this way?
David was treated with contempt by the proud and the powerful because of his unwavering hold on the ordinances of God (v. 20). Ordinances: the word refers to judgments and court decisions. So, David was treated with contempt by the proud and powerful because he wanted the government to be managed by God’s judgments. He wanted God’s word to impact court decisions in the land. No wonder the proud and powerful treated him with contempt and slander.
David was consumed with longing for God’s ordinances. This was not a passing hobby for him, he was consumed. Consumed: the 2 Hebrew words mean to be “crushed with longing”. Try to remember a jr. high crush! Try to remember meeting your spouse for the first time. Can you feel that? David had a crush and longing for God’s word to interfere with the culture!
So, how do you get a heart that longs for God to be represented in culture? How do you overcome the fear of persecution? Consider the following:
1. Open your eyes to see God’s kindness to you daily (v.17). David was looking for God to step up and do things in his life. He saw the goodness of God in action and in writing (v.18) which strengthened him to live and obey God’s word. God is at work in our lives daily but can we see it?
2. Consider yourself a “stranger” on earth (v.19). If you try to befriend the world you will become like the world and not want to offend anyone. If you realize you are a stranger on earth, just passing through, you will hold it more loosely and not worry so much about how people view you. For further study read Hebrews 11:8-10.
How are you handling your fear of rejection and slander? Are you a closet Christian?
Can you identify 1 thing that God has done for you yesterday or today? Be specific! Look for His hand in your life. Ask Him to open your eyes to see Him at work in your life.
Are you homeless today? Do you know that you are really without a home on earth, homeless? Oh you may own a building but is that your home? Do you see yourself as a stranger on earth or are you comfortable here? What would it look like to be a stranger on earth? If an alien landed on earth with no knowledge of our customs would he be able to tell a difference from us and the other humans on earth? What would clearly show that we were strangers on earth?
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.