By Allen White
Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. Matthew 10:21-23
Whoever said the Christian life was easy certainly didn’t listen to Jesus. It’s a good thing Jesus invited His disciples to “come and see” before He challenged them to “come and die.” I’m not sure how many disciples He would have.
Believers know there are benefits to following Christ. Our sins are forgiven. God gives His grace to live each day. He hears and answers our prayers. We live in a community of believers, the Church, who support and encourage us. But, most of us have not faced persecution.
The force of evil in this world is more powerful than the bonds between parent and child or brother and brother. That’s really hard to imagine. Yet, light and darkness simply don’t mix. It’s not that one person is better than another. This is a pull from a force greater than themselves.
We live in a society that claims to be tolerant. The catch is our society wants Christians to tolerate everyone else. The favor goes unreturned. But, as followers of Jesus Christ, we choose to love them anyway.
As society becomes more secular, believers will find less influence and more opposition. This isn’t the time to sound the alarm and unleash judgment on society. This is the time to cling tighter to Jesus. This is the time to show others how to cross from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (Ephesians 5:8).
It would be easy, and maybe even appropriate these days to assume that our world is going to Hell in a hand basket. Probably because it is. It’s been headed there ever since Man fell in the Garden. Jesus warned us. He knew things would continue to slide in that direction.
What is especially troubling to you these days? What is hard to watch on the news? What relationships are strained because of your faith? Our struggle is not against other people. Our struggle is against spiritual forces in this world (Ephesians 6:12). That unbelieving person who has you tied up in knots is a soul who desperately needs saving. How have you prayed for them lately?
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