Persecution is Coming to America
The title of this blog should say: Persecution is Here!
No religious identity group is as blessed, liberated, and (quite frankly) spoiled as the American Christian. We take basic freedoms for granted while believers around the world constantly live on the edge of destruction and death. We have little to no concept of persecution as we're afforded every opportunity to worship God without restraint. Well...that may come to an end sooner than later. As lawlessness abounds, hatred and violence toward Christians in the United States are escalating.
Our reactions range from disbelief to outrage when we hear about the baker who lost his Supreme Court case (after fighting 10 years) or the non-profit organization members who were kicked out of a restaurant. When we see American believers suffering, we often assume God is dealing with secret sins in their life. Or, they're offending people by asserting faith where they should otherwise make reasonable accommodations. Hello. It is not reasonable to force anybody - Christian or not - to bake a gay cake; nor is it lawful to discriminate against people for their beliefs.
The female shooter in Tennessee - a self-identifying transgender who executed six people - gunned down three 9-year-old students. She allegedly targeted the school due to its statement of faith. Whether the latter is proven true, nothing warrants killing defenseless children. This mass murder happened at the same time a transgender protest was scheduled to take place. The demonstration would target Christians, conservatives, and legislation banning chemical castration drugs and sex-change surgeries for minors.
BE HEAVENLY MINDED
Not every soldier who enlists in the armed forces will see combat; not every soldier who engages in combat will die. But every soldier should be willing to die for the sake of the mission to which they were called. Dying in the line of duty is an act of courage and honor. Attempts to conserve one's own life in wartime are cowardice and punishable by dishonorable discharge if not trial and execution.
Christians: If you're not ready and willing to die for the sake of the Gospel, then you should question what Jesus you're following. If your primary reasons for living are your spouse, kids, grandkids, or some other cause besides advancing God's Kingdom, then you need to repent and rearrange your priorities. Consider these words in red:
"The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. Whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow me doesn't deserve to be my disciple. The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for Me will preserve it." - Matt. 10:37-39 (GW)
If you think that's rough, take these words to heart:
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." - Lk. 14:26 (NASB95)
WORTHY TO BE TESTED
The "American Gospel" preaches a nice Christian life without regard for the uncompromising, die-hard pursuit found in the Scriptures. False teachers have led many to believe Jesus Christ is not the God of the Old Testament - the One who waged war against sinful humans and commanded the execution of those who vehemently opposed Him. Have you ever noticed that Jesus never spoke against the plagues, foreign invasions, or natural disasters that overtook the wicked in those days? I recommend churchgoers stop taking their pastors' word for it and open the Bible for themselves.
Apostle Paul told Timothy: "All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim. 3:12). This is not so much a warning of bad things to come but a call to embrace our heavenly identity as we journey toward the Promised Land. I'm sure I won't convince many people that persecution is "good," but Scripture does say we're blessed when we suffer for Christ (Matt. 5:10; 1 Pet. 3:14). So, whether backlash comes from society at large or those in our own household, we ought to be willing to endure as a soldier in the army of God (2 Tim. 2:3).
When believers are persecuted, we should know the Lord highly esteems them. As He considers them worthy to be tested, we should consider how we might follow their example. Those with the greatest revelation of God's heart will risk the loss of reputation, property, relationships, and, if need be, their very lives. Remember Christ said: "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." May we be like the martyrs of whom it is said,
"They overcame [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." (Rev. 12:11)