It is possible to remain faithful in an oppressive world

It is possible to remain faithful in an oppressive world

It is easy to become defeatist about being a Christian in this world. We can see how difficult it is to resist temptation. We can see the prominent people on Instagram speaking about how they deconstructed their faith and are feeling so much happier with life apart from church. We see laws being passed or proposed that make life more complicated for Christians. How can we continue on like this? How is it possible to be faithful when we are so weak and our culture is so strong?

To answer that, let’s consider the time period covered by the Old Testament books of 1 and 2 Kings. People in every age assume that they are the first ones to live in difficult times; it is not true. The books of Kings cover a time period from roughly 950 to 600 BC. If you were a believer in the true God back then, life was generally very oppressive. The political leaders often actively hunted those who believed in the true God. The religious situation was a disaster, with people worshipping other gods like Baal, degrading to child sacrifice and adoption of Syrian gods later in 2 Kings. The overall flow of the story is a tragedy with Israel destroyed and Judah off in exile in Babylon. If there was a time to feel a little defeatist as a believer, it was to live in those days.

Yet if we walk away from the books of Kings just feeling defeated and wondering why anyone would bother trying to be faithful, we have missed the point. Yes, these books are a tragedy, that is very true. But they also give us hope in two key ways:

  1. Examples of faithfulness

While so many of the kings and key players in 1 and 2 Kings were evil in God’s sight, not all of them were. We see the examples of Elijah, Elisha and a number of other faithful prophets who kept persevering in difficult times. We see good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah choose to follow God despite their fathers and wider culture screaming at them not to. We see that faithfulness is indeed possible. Not perfectly, of course, but faithfulness in terms of honouring the true God in difficult times.

  1. Promises from God

The big message of Kings is that God keeps his promises. People are ultimately unreliable, but God is always faithful. Time and time again, we see God keep his promises. And even when the people are in exile at the end, we know this is not the end. The line of David was still continuing. The people were not destroyed. There remained hope for the future.


It is possible to be a faithful Christian in an oppressive world. It’s not easy, nor will we do it perfectly. But God, in his grace, has given us the Holy Spirit. We have his word with all its promises of future hope and assurances that Jesus is already the king. We can keep going, like many others do, even on days when this seems difficult.

Next time you are faced with temptation and you know you have failed before, don’t give up. Don’t think that it is impossible. Pray. God has promised we will not face temptation beyond what we can bear. You can say no. You can grow in your godliness. Don’t let the devil tell you that this is impossible.

Likewise, when you see the culture degrading and moving farther from the true God, don’t think that faithful living is impossible. There were many who remained faithful in the time of King Ahab and there are faithful believers in much more difficult situations around the world right now. God’s promises remain true. We can continue to the end. Not because we are so clever, but because Jesus is so good.

Don’t be defeatist. Keep on serving God, day by day. The future is secure because of Jesus. Let’s honour Him as best we can today.