Preparing for Persecution

This morning our Sunday school lesson was about Daniel in the lion’s den. It was a one-off study. We just got through studying the life of Joseph, and next week we begin a new series on Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Instead of actually studying the lesson, I elected to play a recording of an interview that Focus on the Family did with Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently serving an eight year prison sentence in Iran because of his Christian faith. You can hear the broadcast here:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/trusting-god-in-the-midst-of-persecution

After listening to this broadcast, the question comes to mind: How can I personally prepare myself and my family for persecution?

Here are some thoughts in answer to that question. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.

1. Make sure you have a living relationship with the living Christ. Make sure you lead your children into that relationship also, by your words, but more importantly by modeling before them a life that is Christ-centered and dead to the world. Make sure that Jesus Christ is the number one priority in your life and in your kids’ lives.

2. Always maintain a clean conscience. In order to be able to stand before men without fear, we need to be able to stand before God without fear. Run from evil and pursue righteousness.

3. Don’t live in denial, believing and hoping that persecution will never come. The Bible says that if we live righteous, godly lives, we SHALL suffer persecution, sooner or later, in greater or lesser degree:

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

Notice ALL and SHALL.

Jesus told us that if they have persecuted him, they will also persecute us (John 15:20). He also said that we are salt and light in the world. Salt antagonizes its environment. Light antagonizes darkness. If we are true followers of Christ, the world will hate us.

4. Memorize passages of Scripture which promise blessing and help to those who are suffering for him, such as Matthew 10:28-33, Mark 10:29-30, Psalm 91:14-16, 1 Corinthians 10:13, and Matthew 10:19-20.

5. Read about those who have been persecuted for Jesus. Get a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, or Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, or The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun.

6. Look for ways to deny yourself on a day to day basis. If you always choose the easiest path and always pamper yourself, suffering for Christ will be more of a shock to your system. Jesus told us we should deny self and take up our cross (Matthew 16:24-25).

“Before a man can die for Christ, he must be dead to the world.” -Thomas Watson

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