Living a non-persecuted life, Christians often are discontent that their needs are not met and they are living under poverty or unsuccessful works. Some have this inward hope in Jesus that HE is enough while some can’t ignore their daily needs. This has caused a lot of people to either fall away or become distant in their relationship with God. But those Christians who are under persecution like the current Christians in China and Middle East are actually rising above those hurdles and poverty in life that comes mainly due to their faith in Jesus while those that aren’t persecuted are in a quite opposite way ! As for me, I am fixed that there is Jesus and etc… but this matter has been plaguing recently. Are we non-persecuted Christians losing sight of something precious which the persecuted Christians see ?
I believe you put your finger on a key issue here when you said, “As for me, I am fixed that there is Jesus and etc…” You sounded like Joshua saying in 24:15, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
I do not believe that persecution makes truly committed followers fall away. Jesus said that those who fall away when things start heating up are the seed on stony ground in Matthew 13:20-21. He said that those who look back are not fit for the kingdom of God in Luke 9:62. Jesus said in Matthew 10:22, he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. Uncommitted “believers” do not endure to the end.
What persecution really does is separates the chaff from the wheat, the goats from the sheep, the counterfeits from the Christians.
All “faith” is not equal. There is a trite faith that believes when it’s convenient - and you’re right, persecution will very quickly expose that. But that’s not a faith that saves a person. Paul described what we call “saving faith” in II Timothy 1:12 - I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Billy Graham always appealed to people to come down the aisle and “commit” their lives to Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to those Jews who believed on Him in John 8:31, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.
Commitment. Persecution doesn’t cause it, but reveals it. And the genuinely saved may stagger as Peter did around the devil’s campfire on the night Jesus was arrested, but in the end, the committed will endure.
I hope this helps you as you sort through this issue.
Very great question!!
I like the way how you phrase your question and sustain it with some statements of observation.
Let me share with you a brief response here:
1.) Jesus Himself has told us that we are going to be persecuted for His name. Even if its our own parents, friends, professors, or other people, we are going to experience such tension because of our belief in Christ.
The first thing we have to clarify, is we experience persecution at some point, the difference is to which level or intensity we experience it.
When I was a new born Christian, my parents persecuted me for converting my belief from our traditional faith. They did not allow to go to church and even watch over my behavior. Praise be to God, that He gives me strength to persevere and my parents now put their faith in Jesus.
There is a huge difference to what I have experienced of persecution compare to what intensity our brothers and sisters in Christ experience to a country where Christianity is banned.
2.) The second thing we have to consider is how we shine our light in these circumstances of persecution. Jesus Himself again promised that He has overcome the world. It means we can put our confidence in Christ that He is still in control, guiding and protecting those Christians who are highly persecuted. 1 John also tells us that He who is in us is greater those who are in the world.
I profoundly believe that those persecuted Christians are those who choose to shine their light more in the midst of the very dark world they live in. They see the beauty of sharing the gospel, they see the value of their relationship with Christ, and most of the times, it is in the darkest hour that we see the precious gift of light.
3.) Lastly, and very briefly and practical. Most of the times, we are not being persecuted of our faith, because we have not tried to share it to those who are hostile. Countries itself in the Middle East who banned Christianity see that there is something unique and marvelous to the Christian faith. And those persecuted Christians are more convinced on the truth of what they believe. Therefore, I do believe, we “less” persecuted Christians must learn something from them when it comes on having a genuine faith to Christ.
I hope these help!
Welcome @dhayandavidson, and thank you for posting this great discussion topic! At times God gives us the opportunity to see how the world is never going to offer the unparalleled security we seek. Only the Lord is faithful, powerful and eternal.
Do you think it’s a gift when God brings us to the end of ourselves in adversity?
I am reminded of the witness of Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of Voice of the Martyrs, who spent 14 years tortured in Romanian prison for opposing atheist communist take over of the churches. At one point a friend encounters him in prison and says, “Richard, you don’t look so good.” He replies, “My soul sings, my body not so much.”
How we respond to trial says a lot about where we have placed our security. Ravi did a podcast series that offers a lot of insight on persecution and the Christian answer in the series I’m linking to below.
I agree, in these times though we are tested in fire, the silver will soon be made and God never lets us suffer beyond our capacity and quite God is worth it, the Truth that is Jesus is worthy of my everything
Thank you ma’am, you have reminded me of something crucial, that what matters is the inside and eternal rather than this passage that we are crossing. I take my inspiration from people like you have mentioned who have that shalom in their spirit that comes from Jesus alone. I want to be like that too
I agree with you sir, Persecution will really winnow out the fakes in a sense. Now that I think about it, when a hostile person wants me to give up on someone I love like my family, I would rather suffer than do what the enemy wants. In the same way, For the God in our image to accept a wretched man like me just by believing and repenting and offers the way to everlasting life in a non-unattainable way is worthy of being tortured because He loved me even when I was not worthy of it! Somewhere I was lost in the way and got my thoughts corrupted with the worries of this world and sustaining it, I need to go back to the cross that made me flawless
I have two primary text from the Bible that come to mind when I think about this question.
First in Luke.
Luke 14:25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
In short order, Jesus cuts down those who are meagerly following him because he shows signs and miracles in order to exalt those who are willing to suffer for their faith. The message here is the question of how faithful will you be to Him? Certainly, God is faithful to us, right? So in His faithfulness, just how “True” do you see the Gospel? What would you suffer for your faith? What level of pain, even death, would you endure for your commitment to Christ? The early church suffered such persecution that it makes the arguments on whether this church or that church should be open during this covid “crisis” a laughable manner.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
There is a message here that echos what Jesus said in Luke. Namely, what cost is so great from distracting me from my Lord?
Not all who are Christian will die a martyrs death, however, it is expected of us to count the cost. Those who cannot do this cannot be saved.
I am with you on that matter! Those who are persecuted can either quit and show their disloyalty or they can show they loyalty for the very God who made heaven open for them ! The balance is just not the same