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 is...as 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!