Persecution happens whenever a believer experiences relational, social, physical, emotional or financial pressure to compromise their faith. It happens all the time. You’ve experienced it and I have too in varying degrees.
But some of our brothers and sisters around the globe are feeling the heat of intense persecution. How often do you think of them? Everyday someone is persecuted for their Christian faith in vicious ways.
I’m told that more Christians are being persecuted now that at any other time in history. What I do know is that the high profile killing of Christians has moved me to renew praying for the our persecuted brothers and sisters who are “people of the Cross.”
1 Peter 5:9 Resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Jesus forewarned the church in Smyrna with these words: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Martyrdom doesn’t mean that Satan wins; it means Satan loses. Christians choose death over defection from Jesus. We remember those martyred for their faith and honor their conviction of choosing to die for Christ rather than deny him. As the book of Hebrews says of so many believers, “this world is not worthy of them.”
1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.