Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13 (NASB)
I have been giving a lot of thought to standing firm in the face of persecution. According to Voice of the Martyrs Christians currently suffer in these Countries:
Currently Christians suffer for Christ in these countries:
Afghanistan, Cyprus, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Syria, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Myanmar (Burma), Tajikistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Tibet (China), Brunei, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Chechnya, Iran, North Korea, Turkey, Chiapas, Iraq, Oman, Turkmenistan, China, Kuwait, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Laos, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Comoro Islands, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cuba, Malaysia, Somalia, Yemen
Do you see the country that is not listed on this list? It is the USA, but I do not believe it will remain that way for much longer. Scripture is clear that we will suffer for our faith, and like our brothers and sisters in foreign lands we will one day be called upon to make a life and death proclamation. We will be told to renounce our faith in Jesus Christ or suffer the punishment for it.
One only has to observe the things that are happening in the world, and even in these United States of America to realize that we are on borrowed time. The question must be asked, will you stand in the day?
In my counseling ministry I see so many people who are not dealing biblically or not dealing at all with relatively simple (compared to persecution) issues and I wonder how they will fare when the truly tough stuff comes along.
The only hope any of us have to be able to stand fearlessly against persecution is to have the Word of God so deeply ingrained in our hearts and minds that it becomes our automatic response to issues and problems. This has to start with the small things! It has to begin with the issues I write about each day on this blog and the other common to man things we face. Friends, if we crumple under these small things and lack the discipline to live the Word of God in these times of no persecution how on earth will we ever manage when what we we view as the unthinkable happens?
These are some of the tough questions I have been asking myself recently as I am learning about the doctrine of future things from an entirely different approach than I ever have before. These teachings have caused me to look deep inside my soul and do some hard evaluating of my faith and my ability to stand firm and live what I know is true even if it means someone taking my freedom or my earthly life.
I recall reading a story about a Christian from one of the Asian countries who was jailed for her faith. Each day she was presented with new forms of abuse and torture as the soldiers tried to make her renounce her faith in Jesus. One particular episode involved forcing her to stand on a narrow board for hours upon hours without food or water or a bathroom break. The soldiers would come and demand she renounce Jesus, she would politely refuse, and they would beat her. Then she would have to stand on the board until the next inquisition when the cycle would repeat itself. This went on all day long. At some point, they broke her leg and still they made her stand on the board with one leg if she would not reject her Lord.
I have thought of this sister in Christ many times in the years since I read that story, and I wonder if I would have been so committed and steadfast if I were in her position. I hope so, but I truly do not know...
What about you, Christian sister? Where is your faith? What is your level of commitment to Jesus Christ today? If the stormtroopers came into your world today, would you be able to stand in the face of all they would offer you or in the face of the promise of torture?
The only way we will stand strong and unwavering is through the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the Word of God. It has to become the priority of life sisters, it simply has to...the stakes are too high to pretend these things won't happen in our lifetime.
Spend time every single day committing the Word of God to memory.