No one likes friction, yet it can be difficult to avoid it. News bulletins are often dominated by information about troubles and disputes of various kinds. God often uses human friction to test men and women to see whether they will follow what is good and true – or not!

Friction is of great concern when it occurs inside churches between church members, but it can serve a purpose. Acts14 & 15 include accounts of friction as the Gospel spreads through preaching. Paul and Barnabas spent a long time in Iconium and a great number believed “but the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds” and “the people of the city were divided” (verses 2,4).

A threat of stoning arose so they fled to other cities and continued preaching, making more converts. Later they made a return journey “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God” (verse 22).

None of us have faced troubles like this! Is that a blessing or not? Previous generations have faced difficulties, perhaps because they will not join the army (when I was 19 I had to go to court because I refused to join). The Nazis killed some of the relatively few believers in Germany, and in Russia in the 1930s they all died.

Friction results in conviction – whether or not you are really certain of what you believe. If you are not convinced that what you are standing up for is vitally important, you will not defend it properly. The only convinced people you seem to hear about these days are those who are certain there is no God. Are we certain there is?