For so many years people have been praying against and fighting to stop the persecution. All over the world, persecution has become something everyone frowns at. From the killings of Christians in the middle east to the vandalization of churches in Africa and the sanctioning of Christian activity in Asia the issue of persecution is part of daily happenings. When you listen to the news, you will realize that on a daily bases Christians are being killed on the bases of their belief.
In the Open Doors USA Watchlist, lots of countries are marked as no safe zones for Christians. These are places where being a Christian is not tolerated Whether you are a visitor, an indigen, or a resident, you suffer the same fate for believing in Jesus.
In most countries, Christianity is seen as western culture. In countries like India and China, Christianity is seen as an alien coming to corrupt their traditional religion hence, churches are constantly under attack, Christians always conducting their services in secret away from the eyes of the public. In countries like Syria, Iraq, the Northern part of Nigeria, and other Islamic nations, Islamic religious fanatics continue to attack Christians killing them and rendering them homeless. Sects like Isis, Bokoharam, etc are notorious for claiming responsibility for attacks on Christians in the Islamic nations.
So much has been done to stop persecution across the globe seeing that those that suffer persecutions are human beings. Strong organizations have written petitions to the government of nations about the way their people are suffering persecution in their own homelands yet these governments have not found a way to stop the killings of Christians in their community.
if you take a look at the scriptures you will realize that persecution did not start in the 18th or 19th century, in fact, the perfect example of persecution is found in the life of Jesus as he was hated by the Jews for preaching that “the kingdom of God is now among us”. He was persecuted and killed because of that. In his last message to his disciples especially in Matt 24 from verse 1, he told us that those that believe in him will be persecuted and those that kill the believers will think they are doing God’s will. we saw this play out in the life of the apostles as they too were hated and killed the same way their master Jesus was. In a particular scenario in the book of acts, Herod killed James and seeing how it pleased the Jews went ahead to capture Peter and threw him in prison. Had it not been for the church that prayed on his behalf, he could have been killed too.
Since then, they had not come a time when Christians were not persecuted or faced with hostility as they spread the gospel across the globe.
Is Persecution part Christian life.
The answer to that is not as straightforward as other religions also suffer persecution in most countries where they are not welcomed. However to answer that, one needs to know what persecution means and who can be persecuted. Persecution is basically hostility and ill-treatment towards a race, political or religious belief. So people persecute you because of your beliefs. Jesus and the apostles were killed because of their beliefs and more so because they preached it to others. The radical change that was gradually affecting the way people perceive God and doctrine, creating freedom from unnecessary control by the Pharisees was not welcomed. that’s because it goes against the belief system they have built from the days of Moses. They could not allow room for proper understanding in order to welcome change
Since Christian persecution is not the only form of belief persecution in existence, persecution will linger for the rest of our lives as people are not often willing to welcome belief systems and change they do not understand instead choose to greet them with hostility.
So has persecution come to stay
We must be diligent in prayer, praying according to God’s Word. While we live in a broken world, we can be tempted to pray for things that may be outside of God’s will. Let’s not let our focus be the end of persecution for all mankind.
Remembering this Scripture “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 Using the statement of Joseph, let’s look at the good side of persecution on the church.
1. The church grows in persecution. In the book of Acts 3, it was evident that the church grew stronger and numerically due to persecution. God daily added to the Church in those days. People gravitate towards courage in times of trials and even those who perpetuate the act commend the faith in those they persecuted. That is why you oftentimes see the persecutors turning to Christians. The church records a great number of increases in persecution even in present times.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
2. Faith in God grows in persecution. We tend to relax when everything seems rosy and smooth. We forget to pray or even seek God’s face. Most of us begin to feel self sufficient and ok. When trials begins to rise, our faith rises with it so does our prayer life and desire to seek God’s face. Let’s not forget what the scripture says;
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12
3. God loves us jealously but he never promised an end to persecution while we are on earth. However, he promised to be with us to the very end. sighting the case of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego in Babylon.
The persecution of Nebuchadnezzar only proved how much God was with them. As he later saw in the burning furnace the fourth man who is like the son of God. God will always be with us through our trials and give us the grace to overcome as many testimonies from today’s Christians have proven. Persecution will come to an end after all is fulfilled and the saints of God are gathered home.
Finally, let’s bear in mind that through prayer the church was able to save peter from the claws of Herod. The Angel of God led him to outof prison because the church prayed. It is important to note that persecution doesn’t play the same way in all scenarios. in lots of cases, people have escaped death and the prison from the hands of their persecutor simply because people prayed to avert it. it si the responsibility of the church knowing we can end persecution to pray for the persecuted and stand with them in times of trial. It is easier to overcome when you know people are standing by you than when you are left to yourself. Lets rally round the persecuted and spread hope for them to stand and overcome.
If you are experiencing persecution, remember the words of Jesus, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” Mattew 24 vs 13. Take a stand, to go with Jesus in the face of persecution. In the end, you shall wear a crown and be in His presence forever never to part.
Why Does God Allow Persecution?
There are many countries around the world where being a Christian can warrant the death penalty. This forces believers to worship God and meet with other believers in secret. While this is a reality we live in, have you ever stopped to think, “Why does God even allow persecution to occur?”
We believe that God is sovereign and that even within persecution, God is in control. How do we connect the dots of a sovereign and good God with worldwide persecution? Here are 3 truths for you:
1. We live in a fallen world. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve freely disobeyed God, and sin entered the world. If we did not live in a fallen world, nobody would reject the truth of the gospel, and as a result, no one would reject Christians. Jesus informed us that hate will come: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” [John 15:20] The world surely persecuted Christ by His death on the cross, and believers today often pay the same price as martyrs. Just as God used Christ’s death for good, so He uses the persecution of His believers for eternal good.
While God is perfect in all of His ways, He gives us free will. Humans are not robots and are free to persecute Christians; there will be eternal consequences for this, however.
2. God protects what is eternal. Because salvation is a free gift of God, nothing can take away our righteous standing before God. “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” [2 Thess. 3:3] God knows what our ultimate good is and protects what is unchanging and eternal for us, our salvation. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28]
This is also why we are able to echo the Scriptures saying, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” [2 Cor. 4:8-9] While physically we are harassed, beaten or killed, our salvation is eternally secure and cannot be taken away.
3. Trials can produce deeper faith and hope. Can you imagine anyone praying for trials to come their way? Not too many would say that sounds appealing, but we see throughout Scripture how trials and persecution have caused the church to grow exponentially and allowed deep hope and faith to blossom within believers.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” [James 1:2-4] God protects our salvation and also knows what will truly satisfy and bring us joy. Allowing persecution to produce faith and joy in our lives is just one example of His grace to us.
We praise God that He has given us salvation and also the strength to face each trial. To stand #OneWithThem today, click below to join us to pray for persecuted believers to rest in the hope of Jesus.