But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. —Acts 19:9
If atheists do not believe in God then why do they believe they have to speak against Him? Are they out to save the world? Do they believe it is needful to encourage others to not believe in God as well? Are they seeking to force their godless religion on others? Why do they think they have to push their wicked, stubborn rebellion on others?
There are those, as in the verse above, that just feel the need to not only be stubborn and reject the good news about Jesus, but that they must also speak against the message and the messengers. Stubborn-hearted people are far from doing right (Isaiah 46:12), they follow their own ideas (Psalm 81:12). They do not listen or pay attention but instead follow the inclinations of their own stubborn hearts (Jeremiah 7:24). Jesus was angered by people’s stubbornness (Mark 3:5; 16:14). Stubbornness and an unrepentant heart of a person are storing up wrath against themselves for the day of God’s wrath (Romans 2:5).
In I Samuel 15:23 we are told that “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.” Wow! Stubbornness is as bad as worshipping some idol. So, in reality, atheists are worshipping the god of their own making. Their rebellion falls into the same category as witchcraft. They are satanically motivated.
Followers of Jesus Christ are told to “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants” (II Timothy 2:25-26). Whether those who have not trusted Jesus know it or not, and most do not, they have not come to their senses, they are in the devil’s trap, they are being held captive by the devil and they are doing what the devil wants! Wow! What a terrible place to be. May the Lord give those of us following Jesus wisdom to serve these people and share the good news with them. May it be so!
Dear Father, please help me to encourage those around me to trust the Lord Jesus and to live for Him. Yes, may You be pleased to work through me this way— for Your glory.