Friday, February 19, 2010
Persecuted for Christ
Company girls, if you're joining me today, the following post is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I am not in any way authorized to speak or teach about the Bible or leading a Christian life. I'm just a Christian struggling along. Feel free to offer any insights you may have.
Recently I read a fiction novel about members of a Catholic church that were being terrorized by demons. I assure you, since that time, I have had lots of nightmares. Not a good book for a little light night time reading! If any of you have ever read Frank Peretti's novels, his books cover the same topic--demons terrorizing Christians....and hard-core, kick butt Angels that fight back!!
Reading these types of books has opened up an interesting dialogue in my heart about my relationship with Christ. One that holds special meaning in view of today's current events. Am I willing to be persecuted for Christ? Spiritually or Physically? AM I WILLING TO BE PERSECUTED FOR CHRIST?
Let's step back a minute:
I know that Christians are to be persecuted for Christ's sake. The Bible tells us this...repeatedly. Check out 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 or Philippians 1:27-30. History tells us this---just check out current events or your history books to see example after example of Christians being persecuted for their beliefs. And yes, most of those are graphic examples of Christians being persecuted PHYSICALLY for their beliefs. But Christians are also being persecuted mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their beliefs.
Let's examine that statement for a second:
Christians are being persecuted mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their beliefs. How? In most of Frank Peretti's books, you'll see him refer to demonic forces by names: despair, anger, jealousy, hatred. And I firmly believe that Satan uses these emotions to his full advantage and is unleashing spiritual warfare against Christians in order to win souls to Hell.
But Leah, are you telling us you really believe in demonic forces on earth? Here and now?
Yes. But I didn't always think that way. It's been a relatively recent development in my spiritual growth. And here's how it came to pass. I believe in God and Jesus. That much is a given for any Christian. And if I believe in Christ, then I have to believe in His Holy Spirit and his Angels. And that's a powerful thought...Angels here on earth to fight for righteousness and protect those that love the Lord. God even tells us that there are Angels among us...see Hebrews 13:2, Psalm 91:11, Psalm 34:7 and perhaps the one I find most full of joy and redemption, Hebrews 1:14.
So why is it so hard to believe then, there there are demons on earth terrorizing us and tearing away at our relationship with Christ? I had the opportunity to discuss this question with one of my fellow Christian friends. I think she thought I was a little crazy. And that's what most people would think if I said I believed in demons. But how, as Christians, can we believe in God, in Christ, in His Holy Spirit and in His Angels--and NOT believe in a Satan that has so much hatred for us that he is willing to release his minions on earth against us?
The Bible gives us example after example of demons persecuting men. I'm sure the first name that pops into any Christian's mind is Job. What about Mark 7, verses 25-30, the story about the little girl with the unclean spirit? What about Matthew 12, verses 43-45, warning us to put our house (our souls) in order so that unclean spirits do not return sevenfold? I firmly believe that not only do heavenly hosts surround us, but we are bombarded with hosts of a much more evil kind.
So while I do believe that demons can actually inflict physical terror as well, I believe that Satan is waging a much more effective war against Christians-spiritual, mental and emotional warfare. But get this...Christ has given us the eternal hope and assurance that we WILL win the battle. Check out this passage from Ephesians 6:10-20, which gives us not only that blessed assurance, but also the weapons with which to defeat Satan:
The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 lPut on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the 2wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against mprincipalities, against powers, against nthe rulers of 3the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 oTherefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand pin the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, qhaving girded your waist with truth, rhaving put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 sand having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking tthe shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And utake the helmet of salvation, and vthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 wpraying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, xbeing watchful to this end with all perseverance and ysupplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, zthat I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which aI am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
And all this to bring me back to my original question: Am I willing to suffer persecution for Christ's sake? Sure, I might say I am, and even expect it. But am I TRULY willing to be persecuted for my Lord? Am I willing to face death, or even worse, the constant beating of my soul by hell's forces?
Sure this would be a nice, neat tidy package if I could just wrap it up and say YES! Of course I'm willing! But I'm a weak human and the answer is I'm just not sure. I love Christ, I want to spend eternity with Him. But am I willing to suffer to be with Him? This is a journey that is going to require so much more inside searching and outside reading and praying.
I know God will win the battle for us. I know the reward is greater than anything I can imagine. So why is it so hard to commit to a little suffering here and now?
Posted by Leah at 12:00 AM