Real Persecution…

Christianity has never been truly comfortable for those who passionately serve God.

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” 2 Timothy 3:12

I was listening to a radio station a while back and the host of this show was talking about a lawsuit that was raised against a person for listing in a post on a church bulletin board that they were looking for a Christian roommate. Outraged at the “persecution”, people began to call into the radio station to voice their concerns about the growing wave of persecution experienced by Christians in America. I began to think about our Christian brothers and sisters in other countries who meet in basements and who have to bury their Bibles under floorboards. I thought about the ones whose homes are getting burned down and about the churches that are being targeted by suicide bombers. Seems that the wave of persecution has not really hit America yet. In light of this discussion I wondered how strong the resolve of the American Christian would be in the face of such tangible danger. Would the average American believer in Christ be able to withstand such atrocities without denouncing their faith?

What about my own life? Have I been found hurt at times and felt ridiculous, thereby believing I have somehow been persecuted? Yes, but my life has not been in jeopardy, my feelings are hurt, but persecution, no. It all seems then somewhat ridiculous in light of the reality transpiring all over the world. You see I have this fire in my heart burning for the Lord. I want to know that I will never be one to fall away when the heat is on. I came across a scripture when I was reading the other night and I have meditated on it and put it to memory to remind me that my focus must always be Jesus, my most beloved King.

“So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10).

You see, if we live a lukewarm life for Christ, and we never take any risks and we just see to it that our faith is ours alone, we will undoubtedly never be persecuted…but that is more dangerous to the soul than anything a mere person could do to us.

Listen to what Jesus said: “I know all the things that you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Revelation 3:16

I have to release all of the wonderful things God has done out of my heart, because there is none like Him. There is no other that saved me. He is all so beautiful and lovely. I have to declare it, I have to make it known. He saved me, and if all I have in turn to give is to pour out my heart and share what He has done, declaring that He is the most glorious and righteous one, then that is what I must do…whatever the cost. I refuse to live a life of comfort where I keep everything good He has done and conceal it away. He is too worthy of all my praise and adoration. Won’t you be bold for Christ in your own life, knowing that our victory in Him far outweighs the discomfort that we face in proclaiming His name? JESUS…the most beautiful (and controversial) name that I know! The only thing we can be sure of is that it will not be easy, and if it is too easy, we have to question what we might be missing. Jesus said, “When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but YOU DON”T. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? A servant is not greater than the master. Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you! The people of the world will hate you because you belong to me, for they don’t know God who sent me.” (John 15:16-21).

So the next time you feel rejected, or someone tries to make you feel foolish, remember that the servant is not greater than the master….and it just might be that you are are starting to look more and more like your King.

“And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin an with great joy. All glory to him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now and forevermore. Amen.” (Jude 15:24-25)

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