Once again, for those of us who are born again by the Spirit of God, it behooves us to cling to the Word which provides us with our only source of hope and courage.

How Do We Respond?

Exactly how should we respond when we’re dealing with opposition—whether it be from the courts, legislatures, school boards, or any other source? As Christians, I believe there are four things we should keep in mind.

1. Live (and speak) with a good conscience before God.

Speak honorably to those whom God has placed over you. You may not like them, but Christians often need to be reminded that we are to “Give honor to whom honor is due.” Living with a good conscience means that, whether we are at home or in public, we relinquish our natural reactions for the control of the Spirit. We use our communication to glorify God. Paul reminds us in Acts 23:5, “Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” Remember, the believer’s response is his testimony.

2. Don’t let the enemy’s hard-heartedness deter your spiritual perseverance.

Be determined to obey the Lord. Moses stood before Pharaoh many times before he conceded to “Let [God’s] people go.” Mordecai counseled queen Esther—despite the danger to her life—to make her appeal before the throne of King Ahasuerus, stirring her to action by his timeless question: “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14).

The book of Hebrews tells us that men and women, steadfast in their faith, “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Heb. 11:33, 34). It was faith that caused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to say, “O Neuchadnezzer, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us (He can)… but if not (if He chooses not to), be it known… that we will not serve thy gods” (Dan. 3:16-18).

The Christian’s response should be one of tact, respect, and dignity, but one that undeniably reveals our loyalty to the Highest Authority of the ages. Such a response is appropriate when authority attempts to make us compromise our obligation to worship and glorify God and train our children to do the same.

3. Get the facts straight, and make a proper appeal.

Thank God for people who plan ahead! They know how to investigate, report, and give good counsel in times of distress. One of my favorite heroes of the faith is Mordecai. Although he was not a high profile person in the king’s court, he knew how to put together a righteous response at a time when the Jewish people were in the “valley of the shadow of death.” Clever, bold, respectful—even to his enemies—and definitely in the will of God.

Nehemiah was another Old Testament leader who knew how to make an effective appeal to those in authority over him. The list continues on into the New Testament with men like Paul, Barnabas and Peter. Give these men a heap of tragedy and a dose of social upheaval, and they were in the zone. Their skill was trusting God, keeping their cool, measuring their words, and sensing God’s timing—a classic picture of being controlled by the Spirit. Mature faith and sanctified common sense will always be in demand during times of darkness.

4. Be fervent in prayer.

The Word of God assures us that the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16b). It is easy to talk about prayer, preach on the benefits of prayer, and read books on prayer, but ultimately, we need to do it. The practice of bending your knees, bowing your head, and communing with the God of Heaven consistently gets His attention. Paul exhorted Timothy “that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:1-4, emphasis mine). It seems to me that Paul is telling his young understudy that prayer is a number one priority. Which brings me to another point: is homeschooling the main goal, or is it bringing others to the knowledge of the truth?