‘While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.’ (v16). Acts 17:16–18

Scripture tells us to always be alert. Our Christian faith is under continual scrutiny and attack (1 Pet. 5:8), from direct assaults on Christianity’s underpinning values to attempts to misinform us through the many distractions presented by a prosperous, free society.

Standing firm means knowing and having confidence in what, and in whom, we believe (1 Pet. 5:9). Unlike Paul, I’m not immediately distressed by the invitations to compromise my faith.

I’ve become blind to many of the insidious distractions that subtly draw my eyes from Jesus. Paul reasoned with the Athenians, advancing the claims of Christ, yet their ears were deaf to his appeals, so deeply invested were they whilst slowly drowning in their cultural life. 

The fable about the frog and the boiling water tells us that those with the greatest difficulty in discerning the idols in culture are those growing up within it. We fail to notice gradual changes in life, and these cause us problems.

We are to learn from God’s Word and build lives based on it, always ready to ‘reason’ with our critics. Our ministry is to encourage daily devotion, train disciples, and equip Christians with the tools that enable them to integrate their faith with their life.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Isa. 6:8–13; Ezek. 12:1–20; Matt. 13:1–23; 1 Pet. 3:8–12. 

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Explore how you might integrate your faith with your life more effectively.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I be alert to the challenges to my active faith every day and be able to give the reason for the hope I have. Amen.’

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.