I’ve been talking about the life of a Christian and how persecution and comfort effect that life.
Persecution is nothing new. We can go back to before Christ was born, before God’s people begged to be like other nations and have a human king. In the time of the Judges, the people would grow complacent in their lives, accept the ways of the world and drift away from God. Then enemies would come to ravage the people and their land. What was the inevitable response? A cry to the Lord. In His faithfulness, He would accept them back, save them from themselves.
He continued to do this through the time of the human kings. This is phenomenal to me because just having a king was a rejection of God. How faithful He is to our unfaithful hearts.
Jesus arriving in human form didn’t stop the persecution. We see Romans 8:28 play out time and again throughout ‘modern’ history. The church adopts the ways of the world. We might start out by christinaizing a practice, dressing it up and making it look good. But soon we throw off even that sham. Soon no one can tell the church from the rest of the world to save the church’s life—literally.
Then comes the persecution. Honestly, I think persecution is us just finally reaching that ‘line.’ We accept all sorts of pagan (meaning non-God, which is why many are so acceptable; many are morally neutral) activities, but then something comes along that offends us and we start protesting. Can you imagine the confusion of the culture around us? ‘We were all getting along just fine and now you are throwing your hands up at us. What’s the matter with you?’
Whatever the object of offence is, it wakes us up and we remember we are different and we weren’t meant for this world after all. The only thing that makes us different is that we accepted what Jesus did, so the way we deal with this rude awakening is often pretty poor. And this ticks off the ungodly community who can’t—can’t—understand what all the commotion is about. They certainly don’t like being called names by us. So, we feel beaten up because they feel beaten up. Disrespected and uncomfortable. In some very real ways throughout history and today, Christians are persecuted. They lose their property, are jailed, tortured and murdered.
When you are facing certain loss, you are forced to choose. Is it worth it? It is easy to say we love Jesus when it costs us nothing. But will you still call His name out in public if it means you lose you job? Your home? Your life?
I think God uses persecution to keep His believers close and bring more to believe in Him. That is certainly for our good! I think when we start to feel that tickle of discomfort, it is time to praise the Lord. Be full of joy and glorify Him because you are not quite so comfortable, not quite so entertained by this ashen world. Remember our job here. It was never to get comfortable. Get back to work!
We are here to help rescue people. That can be the only reason. If we are saved by grace alone, then when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, we’re ready to move on from this earth. But that isn’t what happens. We stay here. Why? It can’t be so that we will just learn for our own sake, or just mature in our faith so that we are more fit for heaven. That doesn’t make sense. If that were the case, it would mean that we are doing something to earn our spot. Jesus’ blood wasn’t enough. I need to help Him out. uh…. no.
SO, if I am still here and it isn’t for my sake and it isn’t for God’s sake, then why? It must for for others’ sake! The first thing I need to do is stop trying to get comfortable, stop fighting for my spot in this world. I should be pointing to the emergency exits on this failing contraption of life. And I can’t do it like a scary monster that makes others run away from me. I have to tell the truth, with earnestness and love so they trust me enough to follow me to Him.