For theology Thursday this week the topic is Christian suffering. Click here for an article about a Hamas leader’s son converting to Christianity.
The message to Christians in Afganistan recently was in essence “Convert to Islam or die,” according to an article by Fox News (Click here to read).
(From the article) “About 500 Pakistani Christians received letters earlier this month telling them to close their churches and convert by Thursday or be the target of ‘bomb explosions.’ Islamic radicals trying to impose Taliban-style social edicts in northwestern Pakistan are growing bolder, bombing shops selling Western films, threatening barbers for trimming beards and warning hotels to remove televisions from guest rooms.”
That’s so far from our experience here in this area, we can’t comprehend it. We don’t realize there are Christian brothers and sisters in this world who daily have to face death for no reason other than being Christians. And we should not be surprise because of what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…” (ESV)
What should cause us to pause is not that others are suffering, but that we aren’t. It is more unusual and unexpected for a beliver in Jesus NOT to have it tough because of their faith than it is for them to suffer for following Christ. It seems that Paul is writing that suffering is actually proof of a conversion. Hmmm…
There is a website dedicated to keeping The Church informed about our family that is suffering because of their faith in Christ that I suggest you visit. It is Voice Of The Martyrs and can be accessed by clicking here. Another interesting expose.
There are two responses I have to all this: 1) We (I!) need to be praying for our brothers and sisters around the world you are paying with their lives for being Christians. 2) We (I!) need to be such passionate followers of Christ that there are consequences for us. Not that we go looking to be persecuted, but that our lives are such a threat to the Adversary that he attempts to quell our voice and the impact of our lives.
I agree, we can not expect to go to war and not have the enemy attack us. But we have a comforter, the very spirit of God. It is time we lay down arms one against another and remember who our fight is with.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6: 10-12 (NKJV)
We should always remember that our fight is with Satan and his minions but, EVEN MORE SO that we have God with us. If God is who we say he is (And He is), then who can stand against us. My prayer is that we as Christians would begin to DENY ourselves, TAKE up our cross, and FOLLOW Christ. When we do, the enemy will come after us, but He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
Love in Christ