Persecution is nothing new to Christians. It is a well-known fact that many countries and nations on the earth today persecute Christians; and that has been happening ever since Jesus Christ appeared on the earth and died on the cross for our sins. Christians have always been persecuted for following the teachings of Jesus Christ and believing in Jesus, worshipping Him, and praying to Him. This is a fact of life.
As a Christian it is very strange to see people persecute Christians: Christians are kind, Christians want to help others, Christians want to live in peace and help their neighbours; so why then are Christians so persecuted?
The world hated Jesus they will hate Christians as well
On the earth there are basically two types of people: those who love the things of this earth; and those who love God. There are people who love the pleasures of this life; and those who want to serve God. There are people who live for the things of the flesh and for the things that they can see with their eyes; and there are those who want to live in the Spirit and live for the things of heaven.
There are people who love the world and things of this world; and people who love God and want to do things for eternity.
Jesus said: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:24
People who love money and who are focused on getting money and power do not love God. They are ruthless, violent, mean and selfish – and they hate God. Jesus said that people who love money – and the riches and power of this world – will hate God. And if they hate God they will hate anyone who believes in God or wants to follow God.
Jesus said: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’” – John 15
How do we deal with all this hatred?
How does Jesus say that we should deal with all this hatred? Jesus does not say to hate anyone; Jesus does not say to get angry at anyone; Jesus does not say to fight against those people who hate you: Jesus said to listen to the Spirit and say what the Spirit tells you to say.
Jesus says it like this: “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Jesus said: “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.”
Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will teach you what to say at the time that you need to say something. And we don’t know now what it is the Holy Spirit will have us say, but at the time we need to have the words the Holy Spirit will give them to us. We are to listen to the Spirit.
In Proverbs 4 it says:
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”
Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
For they cannot rest until they do evil;
they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.”
Listen to the Spirit
The Holy Spirit can also speaks to us through the Bible. The Holy Spirit is able to help us remember words and teachings from the Bible in the moment that we are facing persecution and trouble.
Jesus said: “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:26
The Holy Spirit will bring to your mind the words and teachings and guidance that you need at the moment you need it. So stay in pray and stay focussed on the Spirit of God.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will guide you with words that are not in Bible. For example, it says in the Bible:
“Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.”
God will lead you. God will tell you what it is you should do and where you should go.
Jesus said “My words are life”
The things that Jesus teaches us through His Spirit and through His Word the Bible are life. Jesus’ teachings give life to our souls. We feel at peace and we feel the presence of the Lord when we do what Jesus and God wants us to do.
This is what Jesus said:
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
And this is what his followers said:
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Follow the Spirit do not follow the world
The devil and the teachings of the world might say do anything you can to get more money and power; that will make your life good. But God says, “No, don’t do that. Worship God and follow His ways and then your life will be blessed.”
The world says work hard, sacrifice everything you have and are so that you can get more money, because money is power, and money is security. But God says, “Don’t put your faith and your trust in money or men: put your faith and trust in God.”
The world says do anything you can to get money, sell drugs, kill people, extort them, blackmail them, steal from them. The world says do anything you can to get material riches and you will be blessed. But God says, “it is better to give than to receive.” God says, “those who give to the poor lend to the Lord.”
God will never abandon us – never. He will bless us and provide for us in every situation. We should never abandon Him or leave Him or His teachings. So hold fast to God and His Word, trust in Him for He will never fail you.