Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as we all know him, was an American hero, not only for African Americans, but for all people. The speech that he’s most famous for is the “I Have a Dream” speech, but there is also a quote that has never left me, and it is this:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
People are often inspired when they witness your strength and self-control in times of adversity. The lack thereof, when witnessed, unconsciously dulls a person’s respect for another. Usually, this doesn’t come naturally, but is rather learned through wisdom. In James 1:12, it says:
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown on life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”
And Proverbs 24:10 sums it up with:
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
There was a young husband and wife who once moved to a new city that was much larger than the one from where they moved. And within their new city were much larger and wider roads, making intersection turns difficult (especially after sundown), and speeding drivers didn’t help make anything easier. So every time traffic would get hectic, the husband would get flustered and start to panic! One day during rush hour, as the husband found himself in another traffic mess, his wife coached him, “Honey, if you stay calm, you’ll be able to think clearly and makethe right decisions.” That’s all he needed to hear! He thanked her, took her advice and expressed how well her reasoning worked. From then on, traffic was a breeze for him, regardless of its condition.
Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? What do we do when we are falsely accused, when our character is unfairly come into question, or when we are attacked for merely standing on the Word of God? Truthfully, all of these are capable of making our blood boil, but I often like to say that when we become children of God, we get a blood transfusion, and not only have we been washed in the blood of Jesus, but also have it running through our veins. Old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17), and our old self which we have permanently put off must stay permanent!
I’m not saying that we don’t have a right to get angry, because we absolutely do. Hey, even God gets angry sometimes, but it’s how we respond that shows our true character. Our transformation in Christ Jesus shines best in adversities, because we literally become a living testimony of our identity in Christ.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched with those who had the same Christian beliefs as he, no matter what they came against, he never gave place to the enemy (Ephesians 4:27). He never allowed himself to become like his adversaries. Fighting or arguing with fools just makes you a fool yourself. The love of Christ that lives inside of us teaches us to reason, and with reasoning, wisdom (Godly wisdom). Wisdom will reward you with a crown of honor and glory (Proverbs 4:9).
As for the days we’re currently living in, Americans are beginning to experience what other countries have been experiencing for years, which is Christian persecution. Because of our solidarity in the Word of God, we’ve been unfairly and falsely accused of things not worth repeating. But what do we do, return the favor? Absolutely not! Because we love Jesus and keep His commandments, we not only to love them and do good to those who hate us, but continue to stand boldly in the faith and wait for God’s instruction, just like Dr. King and so many others of the faith.
How we respond in trials and controversy is a portrayal of our Father in heaven. Is He pleased with your representation?