Living with Persecution, Living with Faith

This has been a really challenging week for a lot of God’s people.  Last Wednesday night at our Thanksgiving Eve service I spoke on being thankful not only in the great things but also in the persecution we face as we follow Christ.

From 2 Timothy 3:12 we looked at the reality that, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  It’s hard to hear that truth but it’s incredibly important we have a view of God that sees Him as big enough to use the challenges we face and loving enough to rescue us from (or through) them to build our faith in Him.  Paul could look back on his own life and see all the ways that God rescued him and give Him praise for all of them knowing that He had a plan in the midst of the difficulties.

I led folks through an exercise of writing out the suffering in their life and offering it to the foot of the cross before remembering Christ’s suffering for them in communion.  To read the notes is gripping and brings tears to my eyes as I think about the faith to believe that God is going to use these challenges to show Himself faithful.

The family of God at Westminster is undergoing incredible persecution in their walk today and I’m praying for the vision to see how God is going to rescue us in the midst of them for His glory and grow our faith through it.

The most challenging note came from a lady who confessed to God her embarrassment because she felt her life was too comfortable and that she faced no persecution in her life and walk.  I think the standard that if we desire to live for Christ we will be persecuted clearly challenges us to look at our lives and see them differently through the lens of what God wants to do through us, rather than simply what feels good or is desirable in the moment…

God is big enough to allow our suffering and strong enough to rescue us through it.

One response to “Living with Persecution, Living with Faith”

  1. Phil, this is really great. It has made me think and I feel persecution comes in many forms and degrees. I think anyone who is a true follower of Jesus faces this persecution on a daily basis. I know I do. It comes in the form of someone telling me how I could do something better, and Satan whispering in my ear that I’m just not good enough. It comes from the cruelty that come out of my co-workers jealousy that I seem to have more than they do in life. It comes from family struggles and a son who isn’t progressing in life as society thinks he should, and the whispers and looks from others that say we haven’t been good enough parents. Maybe this isn’t persecution in the truest form, being martyered for my faith, etc, but I believe it comes because I believe in Jesus. I have been so greatly blessed by God, first by being led, and really forcefully led, to a saving relationship with His Son, by a wonderful, Godly husband, 3 beautiful sons, and material comfort in life. I know that this makes Satan unhappy, and he then brings persecution and suffering. I love your description of seeing God as “big enough”. Some days I have only been able to make it through the day by remembering that God is big enough, and “His grace is sufficient” for me. And on those days, that was enough, because our God is enough. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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