How to Respond When Faith is Directly Challenged

Jamie Henderson, guest writer

As Adventists living in a close-knit community, we are not used to being questioned on what we believe. We go to school, work, and other social events with people who think the same way we do, so how are we supposed to respond to culture when it directly challenges our faith?

When we branch out into the world, we are bombarded by popular culture and other distractions that do not agree with Adventism. When this happens, there are only two possible paths that we can take: Rise or Run. As much as I hate to admit it, I have taken the latter road far more often than the former. A lot of you have probably done the same.

What we really need to be doing is finding out what we truly believe. If we go about our lives mindlessly accepting every piece of information we receive, we will never have any concrete opinions and connections to and about our faith. Scripture is always the first place we should go to answer our questions because the bible is eternal, and what it says never changes: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but [His] words shall not pass away” (Matt 24:35). God never changes, therefore his word and law never change.

When we study our religion and we know what God’s plan is for us, we have to apply it to our lives- this is where Rise or Run comes in. Truly, when the world gives us the choice of rising up, rejecting its riches, and choosing God OR running away from the pressure- what are we more likely to choose as weak, imperfect humans? When the world around us is wrapped in sin and turmoil, how can we resist its temptations? God says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and

approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will,” (Rom. 12:2). We want to be accepted by this world so badly that we forget it isn’t going to last forever. Why are we trying to fit in? Is it so that we can have friends? Money? Fame? The motivations are endless, but they fail in comparison to the majesty of heaven. We may be ridiculed on earth for following God, but in the end, if we live in this world, but not become part of it, God’s gift of eternal life is far greater than momentary happiness on earth. When we stop living for acceptance and rise up to start living for Jesus, we are caught up in his will. His always good, always pleasing, and always perfect will.