Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We the Persecuted

You wouldn't think it would take 15 years of walking with God to grasp some of the more fundamental truths of Christianity, but in my case...well, I guess I'm slow. I don't think I can find a Christian who could not quote at least one scripture regarding worry and fear. To know the truth, however, and to walk in it, are two entirely different matters.

We drop our jaw in amazement at the stories of believers in other nations who face daily persecution for their faith. We hear how they persevere even though their very lives are threatened, and we marvel. We don't seem to be able to correlate, however, that the remarkable growth of the church in those nations, is tied directly to the fact that these people have chosen Christ, with their very lives on the line. They have faced their death, just by saying yes to Jesus, and those around them want in. Why?

Those who live afraid will desire whatever it is that those who live without fear possess. Someone willing to take a bullet for what they believe in, makes others sit up and notice.

I have heard of, and been a part of, many North American prayer meetings where we fall on our faces, praying for the freedom of the Christians in these nations. I wonder how many of us actually realize that the believers in these nations are far more free than we are, and are on their faces, praying for us!

We do not have our governments kicking in the doors of our churches. Our lives are not at risk preaching the gospel. Yet we are the most fearful group of Christians in the world.

The fear here, however, is very deceptive, yet utterly convincing. It is based on a lie spoken over us from the time we are remotely cognitive. We are under its weight every day. It keeps us with our hands on the wheel, even if steered with a baby finger. It whispers to us first thing in the morning, and we try and drown it with every method of escapism at night. Quiet yourself, and you can more than likely hear it now. "Everything you have can be taken from you, so you had better do everything you can to prevent it!"

Our faith is not persecuted in the physical realm, but I strongly believe that this weapon formed against us can invoke a terror just as strong as any physical threat can do. This lie is our persecution! The more we believe it, the more independent from God we become as we fruitlessly try to hold our fear in check.

If we truly believe at our very depths, that His heart toward us is good, we would not be as easily swayed. Yet here we are. Some of us knee deep, others up to their necks. All because we don't really trust Him.

To face that which we fear the most? Those who choose to trust Him with that are the ones who truly discover just how big He they watch their fear wash away like rainwater down a drain. I have only begun to taste this life absent from fear. I assure you, I ain't going back!



  1. Oh, hear the voice of God, All! I have just been in coversations lately about this very thing. It can't seem 'right' if everything is not secure. Secure in what though, I ask?

    I myself want only to be found in Him! Thank you Paul for voicing the manna from Heaven that has been rotting at our feet!

  2. Paul,

    "If we truly believe at our very depths, that His heart toward us is good, we would not be as easily swayed. Yet here we are. Some of us knee deep, others up to their necks. All because we don't really trust Him."

    For most, how does one "trust" in someOne so few really KNOW?!

  3. Rich, I guess that is entirely the point isn't it. Those who confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, yet do not really know Him, at some point come to a crossroads. When peace, joy and love become idealistic concepts because of the reality of a life lived afraid, the crossroad will come. One either continues down the same road, or ask themselves some tough questions about who they really believe God to be. Doing the same thing, the same way everyday and hoping for a different result is the definition of insanity!

  4. Faith and trust are products of relationship. Often times so are doubt and fear. First impressions are usually the deepest, and unfortunately, most first impressions of the idea of God come through fallible people whose understanding, as all temporal understanding must be, is limited. God comes off as judgmental, hateful, angry, weak, ashamed, depressed, all because of the perverted reflections of professing believers, and I'm one of them. I don't often think that I could bottle my life and sell it to too many as something they'd want. Why is that? It's a direct result of my own lack of faith (relationship) and subsequent failings. If any of us truly reflected the Father, as the Son does, through perfect faith, born of perfect relationship, there would be no fear in any shape or form (insecurity, doubt, etc.).
    Persecution is the epitome of a jealous rage, seeing the Bride in splendor, hating the bridegroom, destroying the wedding because try as they might, some people cannot cope with seeing the best life has to offer as having no strings attached, no purchase price, no cost but that which has already been provided.
    I think I wandered. Sorry.

  5. I loved how Wayne Jacobsen talks about Father in his book, "He Loves Me". At one point he says (and I'm paraphrasing here), "it is difficult to trust that God is good and loving and at the same time willing for some of our loved ones to be burned alive for all of eternity."

    I think a lot of us have had it wrong for a very long time. This idea that the cross was about appeasing the wrath of an angry, distant God, rather than the ultimate demonstration of His undying love for us.

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  7. Thankfully He knows my inability to trust Him and understands the pain that brought me there. He sees the fear that I can't control although I can try. He gently loves me to life. He loves me to Trust. He Loves me into confidence. That me, with all my faults can stand firm in his Intentions. I fail over and over again, how grateful I am for Grace. Grace is the horse i gallop on and Mercy is the the shield that I carry into this crazy adventure. Perfect Love casts out fear.... more love.... less fear. It's just such a shame that such a basic fundamental principle of Christianity is overlooked. More rules, more effort, more knowledge, more works, more value, more gifts, more purpose ... more more more more more. To me it's like a chant that surrounds most Christians on their walk. It masks the truth of his Love. His plan is that we'll become so rooted in the truth of his Love that we'll be able to laugh in the face of that lie:

    "Everything you have can be taken from you, so you had better do everything you can to prevent it!"

    We'll be able to retort. "Silly snake, I know my Father's intentions for me and He will carry me through anything and everything I might face. My Father loves me and his love will never fail me. He will never fail me. No matter what life throws at my feet my Jesus will never fail me."

    How beautiful. I can't wait to be there.

  8. I love your response here, Jenn. Papa has been really pressing me with this "more love, less fear" thing this year too!