I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame …
Psalm 119:41-42, 46 (NIV)
Read: Psalm 119:41-48; Acts 26:1-23
Consider: Having received God’s salvation the psalmist realises that it is impossible to keep quiet about it. The desire to share the good news with others is something experienced by everyone who accepts Christ as Lord. The psalmist mentions two things about this speaking (sharing) that are still relevant today.
Firstly, there is taking the opportunity to answer anyone who queries your faith, even if that person is taunting you. Secondly, the psalmist mentions being willing to speak about God before everyone, irrespective of their status (even if they are a king).
Giving an answer to anyone who questions your faith is something mentioned by some of the New Testament writers. Peter says this: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect … (1 Peter 3:15). Paul also deals with this in one of his letters, as follows: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6).
Looking at a practical example of speaking before someone of high status (Acts 26:1-23) we can see how Paul was willing to speak boldly before a king. Paul had been imprisoned in Caesarea and had defended himself before Felix (the governor). Unfortunately for fear of the Jews, Felix was unwilling to release Paul and he spend a further two years in prison before appearing before Governor Porcius Festus. Ultimately Paul appeared before King Agrippa and we have a record of this in Acts 26. Notice that Paul was not overawed when asked to defend himself before the governor, or King Agrippa. Paul was able to speak confidently before any audience. Notice also that he didn’t defend himself, but rather spoke clearly and concisely about his faith and why he was a follower of Jesus. We need to remember that Paul had been in prison for some time and had been asked to defend himself on several occasions. When speaking before King Agrippa he was able to speak about his faith with boldness, yet with gentleness and respect. He also seems to clearly put into practice what he spoke of in Colossians 4 – ‘conversation, seasoned with salt’.
The question for us is how do we react to someone taunting or questioning us about our faith? Do we react with hostility, seeking to protect our good name, or do we react with grace, speaking boldly about Christ. Gentleness and respect aren’t always the first reactions we have when we feel we are being attacked, yet it is through God’s grace that we can deal positively with other people’s negativity.
Pray: Father, may we be willing to speak boldly about our faith, but always with gentleness and respect. May we never be overawed by someone’s status, but always remember that we serve the King of Heaven. Amen