Sunday, April 3, 2011

Understanding Persecution

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 NKJV

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 NIV

Christians are lights in a dark world. We carry within us the very life of God; we are to display His glory to a world living beneath the shadows. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. He called us to share His story. There is no greater joy to be found than to live out this mission, but along with the adventure comes danger. Ministry invites persecution. Paul's life was riddled with opposition. This was not because he was a poor example of a Christian, but because he was wholeheartedly obedient to the Master. Paul counted the cost and chose to follow Jesus no matter what. He was willing to face martyrdom if necessary. It is believed that Paul was beheaded in Rome for his faith in Christ.

In America, we seldom suffer severe persecution, however, we will face opposition at times when we testify for the Lord. The Bible calls Satan the accuser of the brethren. He is the force behind persecution. Persecution can come in many forms. When people oppose us, we must remember that our real enemy is the devil. In fact we are called to love our human enemies. We should remember that God only allows into our lives what we can handle, and part of the way we handle this kind of trouble is to use our authority in Christ. The name of Jesus is greater than any other name. We are to submit to God and resist the devil when we are being attacked. The Bible says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. We have the victory in Christ.

The question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to undergo persecution for the sake of the gospel?” It will mean that we will face difficulty and pain at times. But if we really want to walk in the light as He is in the light, if we really want to please Jesus, we will say, "Yes." Will you obey the Master and tell others His story? Will you reach the ones living in darkness? If you will, God will make sure that you will never be alone. He will be with you always, and He will help you through every difficult situation. Be assured that with His help you will see many rescued from the clutches of the evil one, and on that day, when you meet the Lord, you will hear the Savior say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

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