I have to admit that I know very little about what it is to be persecuted for Jesus. Sure, I have experienced some negative reactions from others because of my relationship with Jesus Christ but I haven’t ever gone to prison for my faith, shed blood, had property destroyed, or been ex-communicated because of it. But, I have brothers and sisters around the world who this very day are experiencing great hardship because of their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some will even die as martyrs.
If you aren’t suffering for Jesus, are your remembering those who are?
You can start by:
1) Increasing your awareness of what is happening around the world to fellow believers
Below are some books from an affiliate store that could help your understanding:
- Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe; ed. by Harold Chadwick
- God Smuggler by Brother Andrew
- In the Lion’s Den by Nina Shea
- The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together–Book and CD by Brother Andrew & Jars of Clay
- Their Blood Cries Out by Paul Marshall
Check out the web site of one or more of these organizations. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with what is happening.
- International Christian Concern
- Open Doors International
- Open Doors with Brother Andrew
- The Voice of the Martyrs
2) Praying for those who are persecuted
Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.
- Pray for the World: A New Prayer Resource from Operation World
- How to Pray for the Persecuted Church – article
From there God may take you into further involvement.
If you are suffering for Jesus, even if it seems insignificant in comparison to others, here are some promises or realities to grab hold of:
- You are an overcomer because He is. Have hope in Him. (Jn. 16:33)
- You are secure in His love. Hold on to it. (Rom. 8:35)
- You are considered blessed. Be at peace. (Matt. 5:10-11)
- You will be rewarded because of it. Hang in there. (Matt. 5:11-12)
- You will be restored. Stand firm. (1 Pet. 5:8-10)
With these realities comes a sense of purpose in suffering for Him, knowing that we will be okay no matter what happens which then results in:
> an ability to take heart (Jn. 16:33) and rejoice and be glad even in persecution (Matt. 5:12).
> a sense of security (Rom. 8:35-36) which in turn enables us to look beyond ourselves and care about the one who is persecuting us (Matt. 5:44-45; Rom. 12:14).