Day 37

Paul’s Defense Before Felix

from the Acts reading plan


Acts 24:1-27, Jeremiah 29:10-14, Hebrews 13:15

BY Bailey T. Hurley

One of my personal frustrations as a disciple of Jesus is being misunderstood by others. Sometimes it comes in the form of practicing a Sabbath, when neighbors find our faithful church attendance as a restrictive rule of faith rather than a rhythm of fruitful labor. Other times it looks like a judgment on our hope in Jesus. Instead of it being understood as unwavering faith, it is deemed as dopey positivity that is unrealistic and immature (Hebrews 10:23). 

The life Jesus calls us to is often hard to understand because it is countercultural and uncomfortable for most, even believers! Paul was misunderstood numerous times in the story of Acts. In this chapter, Paul stands before the governor Felix to defend his faith. Instead of lashing out against the false charges, he says, “I always strive to have a clear conscience towards God and men” (Acts 24:16). He chooses the high road, staying above reproach when it comes to defending the gospel to those who may never fully understand it.

When it comes to defending our faith, there are many who take the wrong approach. They hold signs and yell; they cause unnecessary division. Some isolate themselves in ivory towers filled with theology books to prove they’re right and others are wrong. But Jesus shows us a different response.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, he also chose to not overreact or over explain. When questioned about his actions, Jesus responded, “I was born for this, and I have come into this world for this: to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). His entire life was living above reproach. 

Whether our faith is ever fully understood, may our actions never be disputed. For we know our reward for living faithfully is not found in the acknowledgement and acceptance of people, but rather in God’s promises to restore us in the final days. “There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing” (2Timothy 4:8). 

Just like the Israelites in Jeremiah 29, who had been rejected from their land, we may feel rejected by others for our faith. But we can have hope in this promise from God: “‘I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the LORD’s declaration—‘plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:10–11). 

May we strive to “walk worthy of the calling” (Ephesians 4:1) we have received and approach everyone with humility, gentleness and patience. Instead of taking a defensive stance, let’s bear with one another in love and walk with a clear conscience before God and one another. 

Post Comments (44)

44 thoughts on "Paul’s Defense Before Felix"

  1. Claire B says:

    Victoria E, unless I am behind I thought you had an OB appt yesterday. Hope all was well – prayers continue.

  2. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I want my actions to speak to those around me about the faith I have in Christ. I know I can easily become defensive, I pray I would walk in humility, peace and patience with those around me.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Prayers for peace and health for you and your baby Brittany. I know that God is with you during this whole process.❤️

  4. Skylar Hilton says:

    It is very frustrating sometimes, as a follower of God. Some people think that we need to be saved from God, as if worshipping Him is some big obstacle we need to avoid. There’s also some unfair behavior by others to when it comes to wanting to have a life and career for God. Our society around us says to follow our dreams.. but when we want to be a nun.. or work in a church.. then its unacceptable because its “too restrictive” (I do want to be a nun one day, and am so grateful to be in a family that supports me.. but I will always say that I DO NOT need to be saved from God… but God NEEDS to save me!) Sometimes some people don’t even give it time to try to understand it.. they just think our faith is so silly.. and that Jesus won’t be here to save us all the time. When we encounter things like this.. we have to be patient.. and love them like Jesus loved people who questioned the faith…I believe one day they will understand.

    As for defending ourselves, I have a different opinion on that. I think we should let God defend us instead of ourselves defend ourselves. When we defend ourselves.. we get in the habit of being too harsh.. almost to the point of bullying. When we let God defend us.. everything will go one as it should.. but if we have to defend ourselves and our faith one day… I pray it will be as well like how Paul did. So patient, loving, and kind without a hint of being harsh.

  5. Nichole Hobson says:

    Amen!

  6. Helen S says:

    Praying for peace,and safety Brittany.

  7. Dorothy says:

    WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Bailey has a way with words and knows how to challenge me. Between her devotion and the Scripture, “12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14a). The Lord has always been there when I have seeked Him. These days I seem to go looking for Him more and more.
    Sisters I come to you again asking for prayer, I have found out that my nephew, Jake (the one who I have asked for prayer for before and has been in trouble with the law) has “jumped bail” and left home to who know where. My sister, Carol, refuses to seek help.
    Be blessed and know that God is listening sisters.

  8. Victoria E says:

    Kristen, Searching, and others. Thank you for continuing to pray for me! I am so blessed to be a part of this community.

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