How many years does the average person live on earth? How many years does the average person live in heaven or in hell?
Do these back-to-back questions give you pause? Do they make you consider how you want to live your minuscule dot of time on earth before entering into the lengthy, never-ending foreverness of eternity?
What would it take to have a truly fulfilled life? One where you placed others’ well-being at the forefront, while also becoming even more outrageously excited about heaven?
Each time we risk persecution to share our faith, we experience ultimate fulfillment – ultimate love for others and ultimate expectation of heaven. Because every time we’re willing to suffer for our faith, our commitment to Christ and to others is strengthened.
Even with its benefits, however, being persecuted isn’t a pleasant thing to consider. But if history holds true, it’s possible that Christians in America will experience increasing persecution.
To be ready, we need to ask God to help us. To help us: Love those who are not in a relationship with Jesus as much as we love our own spouse, children, parents or siblings. To hate the thought of anyone spending one minute – much less all eternity – in hell. To consider their souls as more valuable than our own life. To endure whatever disappointment, inconvenience and hardship necessary at the risk of our ambition, comfort and lifestyle. To accept ridicule from the very ones we’re trying to share Christ with.
And we need to ask God to help us love those who reject our message. “Love your enemies,” Matthew 5:44 (ESV) reminds us, “and pray for those who persecute you.”
As we do, we become more like the One Who died for us and for those we are witnessing to. Allowing God to bring us to the place He lovingly wants to take us, and trusting Him even when we are persecuted, will enable us (individually and as the church) to experience life differently.
Best of all, we’ll live in joyful expectation of one day standing face-to-face with our Redeemer. Something we will enjoy throughout the lengthy, never-ending foreverness of eternity.
What about you?
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- Does this week’s post give you a broader perspective about persecution?
- In what ways have you been persecuted for your faith? How has it affected you?
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