I hope this provokes you …

A young man enlisted in the Army, and was sent to his regiment. The first night he was in the barracks with about fifteen other young men, who passed the time playing cards and gambling. Before going to bed, he fell on his knees and prayed, and the others began to curse, laugh at, and throw boots at him.

So it went on the next night and the next. Finally, the young man went and told the chaplain what had taken place, and asked what he should do.

“Well,” said the chaplain, “you are not at home now, and the other men have just as much right to the barracks as you have. It makes them mad to hear you pray, and the Lord will hear you just as well if you say your prayers in bed and don’t provoke them.”
For weeks after that, the chaplain did not see the young man again, but one day he met him, and asked, “By the way, did you take my advice?”
“I did, for two or three nights.”
“How did it work?”
“Well,” said the young man, “I felt like a whipped hound and the third night I got out of bed, knelt down and prayed.”
“Well,” asked the chaplain, “How did that work?”
The young soldier answered, “We have a prayer meeting there now every night, and three have been converted, and we are praying for the rest.

This story is a good example of what may happen if we persevere through difficult challenges to our faith.

Sadly, the poor advice from the chaplain is all too common. We’re often told “don’t rock the boat” and keep your faith personal. But that’s not the kind of advice the Apostle gives us …

“Let us think of ways to motivate [provoke] one other to acts of love and good works,” Hebrews 10:24.

The world is never slow to provoke us to sin … to anger, cursing, revenge, or hate. And we are not naturally inclined to the way of the Lord.

You and I need to provoked to holiness. Provoked to love. Provoked to good works, and kindness, and the qualities of Christ.

Do you have someone in your life who provokes to follow Christ? Do you provoke others to glorify God, or to walk in the ways of the world?