Core Christian Value
God does not intend that the Light within us be hidden. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” EPHESIANS 5:8 NKJ
Miriam-Webster defines a foxhole as: a pit dug usually hastily for individual cover from enemy fire. When you are feeling attacked because of your Christian faith and beliefs, do you sometimes feel like hiding in a foxhole? Some of us often do and that is a natural reaction. We do not like sticking our neck out when we are being attacked for our beliefs. There is another military expression that one sometimes hears; there are Christians who “fly under the radar”. They live life in such a way that they are as a phantom Christian. No one knows they are a Christian! Are you anxious for people to know that you love the Lord; or, would you prefer that your faith be a private affair? There are a lot of people whose lives seem to indicate that they do not want to make other people “uncomfortable” by declaring their faith, either by their actions or their words.
The Bible indicates that if you “live for Christ”, at some point you will suffer persecution. Listen to Paul’s teaching to Timothy. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 TIMOTHY 3:12 NKJV. Then Jesus makes the same point: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” MATTHEW 5:10 NKJV Do you feel persecuted for your faith? Is it possible that you are being persecuted and do not realize it? If you know you are being persecuted because of your faith, listen to words of Paul: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” ROMANS 8:35 NKJV. Again, Paul puts our persecution in perspective: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ROMANS 8:37-39 NKJV
Jesus made our persecution seem certain. Listen: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” JOHN 15:20 NKJV. I am sure we will not all experience the same sort of persecution but listen to one group’s circumstance: “Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” REVELATION 20:4 NKJV Listen to excellent advice from Peter. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 PETER 3:14-17 NKJV
What might be an appropriate response to persecution? Discuss times that you knew you were being persecuted, because of your testimony and faith. What if you have never felt persecution? Why not?