Peter and the disciples had their faith tested when their teacher and leader, Jesus, was taken away by soldiers, tried and nailed on the cross. Many of the disciples fled from Jesus and even Peter, one who pledged to protect Jesus with violence denied Jesus three times as predicted by Jesus.
As Christians we get these tests in faith as well. They are like spiritual stress test to see how strong your faith is. When everything is well, we really don’t know how faithful we are. When things are well and smooth, we seems to be quite nice to one another but what happens in a crisis? How would you react in a crisis that put you in a stressful situation? I know that the devil knows our weaknesses and he would exploit it as much as he can to bring us down, to have us tear each other apart in the house of God.
As a pastor’s kid, I guess I am put in difficult situations quite often in the church and I see people changes during these tests and I must say, people who can stand their ground are a very small minority. Many people have fears and would give in, especially when there is a problem.
At my church recently, I know several deacons know what was wrong but have decided to keep mum on the issues and only one lone deacon spoke up. The lone deacon is part of the old guards being a second generation at the church. However, nobody listened. I would say out in a 100, only maybe less than 5 would be able to face pressure in the face and stand firm in God.
Out of all of Jesus disciples, it seems only John was there to accompany Mary to see Jesus on the cross. John was the only one who stayed faithful the whole time. Others, like Peter, despite his outward proclamation, gave in to pressure and fear. So that’s one out of 12. Another one, Judas simply betrayed Jesus outright for 30 pieces of silver. I was going to write gold but then I checked and it’s not even gold, it’s silver. It’s actually not a small sum, it’s about 120 days of wages back in the days which can be translated into $16,438 if we consider that the average American mean income is roughly about US$50,000. So that’s quite a big amount of money for an average Joe, but would you betray your teacher, leader and friend for that amount of money?
I realized that many people would betray others for lesser things. For the lonely people, friendship and inclusion would be the bait. For poor people, financial help and gifts would do the trick. For those who crave recognition and power, offering of post that allow them to be seen in public would be enough.
As Christians, we need to know our weaknesses in order to defend ourselves against plots of the devil. We have to be like an athletic, a boxer, a fighter, a soldier. We need to know our weaknesses and defend it, take that in regard and know how to prevent our enemy from exploiting our weaknesses.
And God’s plan for Christians is for us to have caring fellowship with one another, so we can be stronger in covering for one another like in a team, compensating to each others’ weakness. I think of it like a basketball team defense. For example, a fast strong player like Lebron James would take advantage of a slower, weaker perimeter defender but what can the other teammates do? The others can jump in and help double-team, the taller and stronger players can cut off the lane for Lebron to drive to the basket. Cover for one another, remind one another. One important thing in playing defense in basketball is communication. Players have to verbally tell and sometimes yell when they need help or they find someone of the opponent team getting open.
I think for Christians in theory, we should do the same. We watch out for one another as a united team. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s what we ought to do. By standing together, we improve our chances of overcoming spiritual stress test.