Christian persecutionChristian persecution went viral over the weekend. On Sunday, the terror group ISIS released a 5-minute video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Lybia. The video was titled, “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” Obviously, ISIS purposefully targeted followers of Jesus.

Franklin Graham responded publicly to this brutal act with these remarks:

As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming.

“The storm is coming.”

Like Franklin, many believe terrorism will continue to spread across the globe. And yes, here to the United States. By it’s nature, terrorism specifically means the targeting and persecution of Christians.

While the persecution of believers has risen in other parts of the worlds over the last century, we have remained free from it here in America. The unfortunate result is that the faith of many American believers is weak and shallow. We have not been tested. We have not been forced to rely on God and His strength.

I often wonder how I would respond with a gun to my head – or a knife to my throat. Would I stand firm? Would I be willing to die rather than deny my Jesus?

And what about you?

Let’s begin to prepare our hearts and minds now. Let’s be ready to weather that storm when it comes.

Those Egyptian believers remind me of those faithful saints of the Hall of Faith in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews. This morning I read it again to see how these men and women lived “by faith” no matter what came their way. Even in the face of death.

4 Ways to Prepare for Christian Persecution

The passage gives us these following characteristics of one who “runs with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

  1. Cling to God’s Promises (Hebrews 11:13) – Many of God’s promises to us won’t be fully realized until eternity. But we can hold fast to them now, knowing without a doubt our heavenly Father always keeps His promises.
  2. Remember Our True Home (Hebrews 11:13-15) – We are but foreigners and sojourners here on the earth. This physical life is only temporary, a mere breath. Our true home – and our true life – is now and eternally with Christ.
  3. Turn Away from Sin (Hebrews 12:1) – Sin entangles and trips us up. Disobedience weighs us down and hinders our faith journey. Instead, a holy life gives us strength and freedom to run hard after God.
  4. Keep Our Eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) – Jesus is our goal. He is the prize for which we run. He is our source of life. The life within us. Don’t let your focus drift. Fill your heart and mind with Him.

These preparations will help us stand firm whether terrorist come to our door or our neighbor laughs at our commitment to Jesus. Sometimes I think the more “subtle” persecution is the most dangerous. I know for me, it’s often easier to justify a “small compromise.”

Will you join me in committing to stand firm for Christ in all the big and little persecutions? What kind of persecution have you witnessed around you recently?

 

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