Do you ever worry about the possibility of persecution that may be ahead for those who follow Christ?
For years, it seemed like Christians living in the United States were given a pass from the persecution Jesus’ followers were facing in other parts of the world.
In the past year, around the world:
– Over 260 million Christians lived in places where they experienced high levels of persecutionOpen Doors
– 2,983 Christians were killed for their faith
– 9,488 churches and other Christian buildings were attacked
– 3,711 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned
Although it may not be considered persecution in the U.S., Christians are struggling with churches being closed, lawsuits being initiated, schools making statements of faith “hate speech”, and businesses and social media monitoring what we are allowed to share.
But before you and I start wringing our hands . . . which I have to admit is easy for me to do, let’s take a look at what Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10:
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”Matthew 10:16
The world has always been full of differing messages. Solomon wrote:
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.Ecclesiastes 1:9
That’s why it’s important for Jesus’ followers to be both shrewd and harmless. We need to know history and to know God’s Word so that we can live with wisdom willing to make ourselves vulnerable and reach others with God’s love.
What to Do When You are Afraid of Being Persecuted
Jesus honestly said that following Him wouldn’t easy but He also said a couple of really REALLY important truths.
“Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.”Matthew 10:19–20 (MSG)
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.”Matthew 9:26a, 29b–31
“Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
If you’re feeling anxious and afraid today about the things you see going on in your community, state, country, or the world . . . pause with me to pray, let’s give it all to God.
A Prayer When You are Afraid of Being Persecuted
Father, Sometimes I wonder . . . why? Why do people reject Your love? And why are there people who choose to persecute and harm those who do? I know Jesus said His followers should anticipate persecution and that when they are to consider it an “opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about [Him].” (Matthew 10:18)
When I am anxious and afraid, remind me of Your promises. Give me the courage and strength I need each day and by Your grace, help me boldly share the truth of Your love no matter how the enemy tries to silence me.
And Lord, I pray for Your children who are being persecuted around the world. Be their provider and their source of protection and strength.
Please be with me . . . I give myself to You. Amen.
Friend, God knows. Nothing is hidden from Him. He sees the scope of all eternity and He sees you. He loves you.
On today’s note write:
God is with me. I will not be afraid!
May He be with you today and give you His peace . . . calming your fears about being persecuted.
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