If you are a Christian, here are some “Help” Topics to keep you standing “where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.” (Romans 5:2 MSG Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM PERSECUTED?
Here are three steps to dealing with persecution (they came to me while folding laundry, of course!). They sound harsh at first, but there’s a surprising twist to each one:
- GET USED TO IT: Initially we think, OK, I need to expect persecution: “Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you” (John 15:20). But here’s the twist: expect Jesus to deliver you “Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you” (NASB, Jeremiah 1:8). Instead of focusing on potential persecution, focus on how God is going to “show up” in those awkward situations to deliver you. Then you will praise Him like King David in Psalm 34 (NLT): “Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” DELIVERANCE? GET USED TO IT!
- GET OVER IT: Initially we think, OK, I should forgive my enemies and pray for those who persecute me (Matthew 5:44) but the twist is that it is Jesus who will give you the power to forgive because He has given you a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), the power to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21), and to not be alarmed by your opponents which will be a sign to them that God is with you (Philippians 1:28). OPPOSITION? JESUS WILL HELP YOU OVER IT!
- GET ON WITH IT: Initially we think, OK, I should keep loving all those angry people out there because I need to sow in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) and cast my seed through tears (Psalm 126:5). We do need to faithfully love the unrepentant (2 Timothy 2:25), but the twist is that there are LOTS of people ready to respond positively to the Gospel (John 4:35); move on to those ready to listen (Matthew 10:14). When we are allowing the power of the Gospel message to flow through our mouths and our lives demonstrate it, there is no greater joy than to see God’s kingdom advance and the devil kicked out (Luke 10:18-21). That Joy will be greater than the potential misery caused by persecution (James 1:2). NO GREATER JOY? GET ON WITH IT!
More to come…