Christianity today is the most persecuted “religion” in the world. I put that into quotation marks because I believe Christianity is a relationship with Jesus, not a religion. But, in order to make my point, many Christians undergo persecution around the world. Sadly, many Christians in the West, are completely unaware that this is happening right now. Sure, we will experience smaller forms of persecution in the work place and with family members, but intense persecution that involves imprisonment, torture and death is something that needs to be addressed. So, here are ten tips on how to endure persecution and how we can help others that are experiencing it.
1. Pray for comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 tells us, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
2. Pray for the ones that are persecuting you. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is a spiritual battle and the battle for this person’s soul is on the line. So by praying, know that strongholds can be broken for them, that they too might come to salvation.
3. Know that God is with you. Hebrews 13:5 reads, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us and He is there until death. We never truly experience being spiritually orphans because God is always with us.
4. Put on the Armor of God. Ephesians 6:16-18 tells us, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.” As soon as we are Born Again, we become targets for Satan in this world. In order to fight spiritual battles, we must use spiritual weapons. Memorizing scripture to help resist these attacks is vital, so start meditating on God’s Word, so that you will be ready.
5. Be reminded that we are one in Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12-20 says, “or just as ithe body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For kin one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” If one member suffers, we all suffer together.
6. Pray that persecutors will not detect other Christians. In Acts 9:25, we read how Paul was placed into a basket, in order to escape being killed. Luckily, he was undetected. Perhaps you know of a Christian or family that is spreading the Gospel abroad in a country where it is illegal. Pray that they remain undetected and for their protection. “One night, however, his disciples took him and lowered him in a basket through a window in the wall.”
7. Rejoice while suffering for Jesus. Acts 5:41 says, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” It sounds abnormal and it absolutely is (in the World’s view). But when it comes to the spiritual things, we know that our reward will be great for suffering for the sake of Jesus. James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
8. Show persecutors God’s grace. Jude 22-23 reads, “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” If they are persecuting a Christian, it is because they do not know God. They do not fear God and some may come to salvation through the fear of knowing that Hell exists. I am not saying to scare people into Heaven, but revealing the reality of a very real Hell that separates us from God, eternally.
9. Have an answer for your salvation. Ephesians 6:17 says, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” By knowing Why we believe, What we believe, we are a living testimony to our persecutors. That alone, can sometimes bring up more questions or a curiosity about the God that we serve.
10. Be bold for Christ. Philippians 1:14 reads, “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Sometimes God allows for extreme forms of persecution in order to strengthen our faith and make us more bold in proclaiming the Gospel. So remember that all pain and suffering has a return investment. It never goes unused with God.