I used to think persecution - real persecution - meant imprisonment or martyrdom. Little did I realize that anything that tries to silence my voice of influence for Christ is, indeed, a form of persecution! That changes everything! Anything that threatens me to try and use fear to silence me is persecution. God has much to say about persecution - and it’s many blessings. But the best news of all? He endures it WITH me!
I have been physically threatened because of my faith. I have been mocked. I have walked through sign-carrying protestors to get to my own concert/ministry gathering. I have been called names. I have shared my story of deliverance on a college campus while a group mocked me the entire time. I have been called names. Been lied about and written about in the blogosphere. Been sneered and jeered at. I’ve been told I am doing more harm than good. I’ve been abandoned by ‘believers’ who told me ‘this is your calling, not mine’. I have been shunned. I have been thrown under the bus by more ‘progressively minded’, more ‘enlightened’ segments of the body of Christ. Through it all, I have determined that I cannot be silent about what God has done for me. Why? If we who have been redeemed do not say what we have been redeemed from, how can those in the same bondage ever going to know freedom is possible?
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
Psalm 107:1-2 NASB
Another reason I continue to share in spite of the ever-increasing darkness in our culture is knowing that nothing stands forever - not the threats, not the wisdom of man, not humanism - except the Word of God! So, I choose to stand upon the Word in spite of the culture!
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8 NASB
Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we WILL experience persecution. It may be as simple as pushback for a simple post of faith we make on Facebook. It may be as harsh as someone threatening us with violence. It may be facing possible censorship or the threat of imprisonment. It may come in the form of mockery or insults or shunning. But follow Christ and it WILL come. We might as well get ready for it.
J. Paul Nyquist, in his book Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, says, “Because of our relative inexperience, we Americans tend to have a limited view of persecution. We typically think of it [persecution] in physical terms (imprisonment, martyrdom), and as such, may question whether our experience truly qualifies as persecution. But this definition is too narrow. The biblical term suggests a broader view including aggression, oppression, and violence affecting body, mind, and emotion…Simply put, persecution is the societal marginalization of believers with a view of eliminating their voice of influence.”
Lisa Cherry, in her book Like a Flood, provides a much-needed tool for the body of Christ as we face this present darkness. I would encourage you to read this book to prepare your heart for what’s coming…to prepare your heart to stand firm and strong through the onslaught. Below is a link to a list of 100 Scriptures dealing with persecution. I would encourage you to read through them and allow the Holy Spirit to use them to strengthen your heart and mind.
To get your own copy of Like a Flood, go to http://frontlinefamilies.org/home/product/likeaflood/
To get your own copy of Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, go to https://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Living-Increasingly-Hostile-Culture/dp/0802412564