Let me give you an example of what it’s like and how these things work out in a federal prison, living in a jail cell with armed guards all around you. One of the brothers was speaking to some other brothers because a sign was posted on the wall not to take any food out of the cafeteria (the lunch room where all the prisoners are). “Don’t ever take food out of this room.” Some of the men in the prison, because the food wasn’t cooked long enough for them or because they wanted to eat it later, would sneak food into their clothing and take it out of the lunch room, even though they claimed to be Christians.
One of the brothers said, “God put authority in place, and you may not like that rule, but God made that rule. God put that sign on the wall because authority says ‘Do not take food out.’” And the men said, “Yeah, but they don’t cook it very well and if we are going to stay healthy we need to find a way to heat it up over a flame or something.” (Back in the part of the prison where they work, they can cook it a little more.) But this brother said, “I don’t care what your excuse is. God said, ‘Don’t take food out of the lunch room!’” Well, some of the brothers turned on him. They said, “You’re just being legalistic.” He said, “I can’t violate my conscience. God said the food stays in the lunchroom and you’re sneaking it out against authority, which means according to Romans 13, it is against God’s law.”
He said, “I don’t know what else to do. I can’t tell you to disobey authority because then you’d be disobeying God.” So this one brother ate by himself for a while in the prison with all these murderers all around him. He pulled away from others in the prison that call themselves Christians and said, “As long as they’re disobeying God, I don’t have any choice. I have to pull away.” Over a period of time, there was repentance and he ended up having brothers much closer to him than ever before in his life! There was a small revival in the prison, because he was willing to hold up God’s standard and not compromise, even while living in a federal penitentiary.
So when Scott talks about not compromising in order to win favor or to be popular, that’s even true among a bunch of prisoners. They could stab you—literally kill you—as you sleep in your bunk. That happens all the time there. These guys are murderers or they wouldn’t be there. This brother could get killed for saying, “Don’t take the raw chicken out of the lunch room.” These are grown men who get about as much food as they can fit in one hand for the entire day. They are being starved to death by the penitentiary system, and yet they’re still trying to stand in truth, in righteousness and obedience to God, in spite of the greatest pressure anybody could imagine.
God will provide a way for us all, regardless of our circumstances. He’ll join us across the miles; He’ll join us across the continents to help each of us stand for righteousness. If we’ll sow the seeds of obedience and courage in faith, we’ll reap Isaac instead of Ishmael.
I think all the examples that you can show others are that we Christians are also hard-working. We are also hard-working. We don’t fellowship with people and let them join our group just for us to be their helpers. But we’re all hard workers and God will provide.
Even when there’s no work.
That’s right. If they can’t get a job, they can spend their days helping other brothers and sisters who do have a job. Absolutely.
God has proven Himself faithful. We are still strong. He is still providing for us, for our kids.