5 Proofs That Persecution Strengthens Our Faith and What God Says about it
Does religious persecution scare you?
For those of us who are unfamiliar with religious persecution there are a lot of questions we may want to ask.
Will I be able to take it? Will my faith hold up? What will it cost me? And what will I be required to give?
We read in the news about people in other countries imprisoned, beaten for their faith, or worse. In America persecution is often distant and unfamiliar. However, there is a growing hostility towards Christians and our views, leading us to wonder about the future. How long will we enjoy such freedom? What will we do if it is taken away from us?
Anytime we have questions or uncertainties, it’s good to check in with the authority.
What the Bible says about persecution
1. Who will experience it?
As a follower of Jesus, there is no getting around it – we can expect persecution by the world because it hates what and who we teach.
“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.”– Luke 21:12 NKJV (see also John 15:20 and 2 Timothy 3:12)
2. What you should do?
What are you going to do when you suddenly find yourself being persecuted for what you believe? God intends us to use it as a chance to witness for Him.
“But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony…”– Luke 21: 13 NKJV
So what do we do? Strangely enough, God tells us not to plan ahead for what to say.
“Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer…”– Luke 21:14 NKJV
3. What will God do?
Like so many times in the life of the believer, God wants us to rely on Him to tell us when and how to act.
“For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.”– Luke 21:15 NKJV
It is interesting to note that Jesus said this to His disciples before His death, and afterward through His disciples, He proved His words to be true. (E.g. speeches of Peter, Stephen, Paul).
Evidence that Persecution can make us stronger
Each of us is responsible for our own conduct, but we can have faith that no matter what the enemy does to stomp out Christianity, it will always remain. The question is, will we let it make us stronger?
Here is evidence from both the past and the present that this is true.
1. Hebrews enslaved in Egypt
Despite centuries of hardships while enslaved to the Egyptians, God blessed the Hebrew people and their populations grew exponentially. In the end, God freed the Hebrews and destroyed the Egyptians.
2. Early Church in the New Testament
After the murder and resurrection of Jesus, He instructed his followers to go and tell everyone all over the world the good news, that Christ came to save the lost. The danger to the believers increased until the only way to survive was to leave. In doing so they fulfilled Jesus commission to take the gospel into all the world.
3. In China
In the June edition of the Insight for Living newsletter it says that despite the Communist attempts in 1960 to stomp out Christianity, declaring they could do so in 3 months, the people of China are now filling the churches searching for truth. The statistics are astounding! An average of 300 people in one province alone is coming to Christ each day.
4. In Russia
In another issue of the Insight for Living newsletter, it says that the Russian government is endeavoring to silence Christianity by “restricting unauthorized missionary activity in all nonreligious settings.” One family the newsletter told of is fighting just as their Grandfather fought during Communist control during the control of the USSR. He wasn’t silenced and neither will his descendants be.
5. In Nigeria
One Nigerian woman, after enduring an unprecedented Fulani attack during which she received multiple machete wounds and eventually lost her unborn child, said afterwards, “I should hold onto God no matter the suffering or persecution.”
And the evidence goes on. Ministries like In Touch, Insight For Living, Voice of the Martyrs, and International Christian Concern continually tell stories of believers enduring persecution all over the world – in Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Nepal, Pakistan, and the result is still the same.
Persecution never stomps out faith – it flourishes it!
So what can we do as we consider how we might respond to religious persecution? Expect it, embrace it as an opportunity to spread the truth, and stand back and let God work.
What do you think? Has this post encouraged your faith? Have you ever noticed persecution bolstering faith instead of silencing it? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!