‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, (…) without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.’ Philippians 1:27a,28a
Once again, this story makes quite clear that the real enemies of the kingdom of God are not in the first place the cursers, but those who say: ‘Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to Him’ (:2).
How much work of God have I seen running aground after the last World War, because people came forward, eager to help building up the kingdom of God, but unwilling to be tried and tested... Actually, a reliable work of God always has its origin in a path of suffering and affliction. But as soon as God’s blessings come, there are always people, who want to take advantage of them. But for a servant of God it is required to prove faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
We must not harden these observations into rules, yet we see some general indications here.
How do people, who eagerly come forward, respond to clear rejection? In this passage we see enthusiasm and love turning to hatred, and that, what they so eagerly wanted to build, they tried to demolish with all their effort. Thinking about this could easily distress us, but that is truly not necessary! The Bible teaches us how to recognize these dangerous enemies to the kingdom of God. And honestly, this will not endanger God’s work. Instead, it will be purified! Those, who want to help building up, must therefore be tested (Revelation 2:2).
But how to put others to the test if we have not been found trustworthy ourselves?