There is a cultural dynamic that has shifted over the last decade. People feel entitled to express their animosity freely and openly. Christ followers can be the target of that maliciousness. How do you prepare for that? When you are under extreme pressure from a hostile group, how do you respond? Our response reveals the key influence in our lives.
Peter and John were attacked by a very powerful and hostile group. Read Acts 4:8-20. Here we find some timeless truths in responding to challenging, awkward, and antagonistic situations.
First, live in dependence on the Holy Spirit. In all circumstances, we are to be yielded, surrendered, sensitive, and obedient to the Holy Spirit. When He prompts you to be silent, then exercise restraint. Dependence on Him is called being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Peter responded with words given to him by the Holy Spirit.
Appeal to reason. Some antagonists can be reasonable. Peter used the attack to state the truth about the source of the miracle they performed. Peter pointed them to Jesus!
Be confident. Peter and John were not intimidated. They were confident that Christ Jesus would use whatever happened to them to advance His Kingdom.
The RESULT: The hostile group recognized that Peter and John had been with Jesus. WOW. How amazing! They recognized the influence Jesus Christ had on Peter and John. While that is very convicting, it is also our challenge! His influence, or lack thereof, is clearly seen when we are challenged.
Antagonists are rarely satisfied. They commanded Peter and John to no longer preach Jesus. However, Peter and John decided long before they were on the “hot seat” that their primary allegiance was to King Jesus. You must decide who you will ultimately obey prior to being pressured!