Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution… they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (2nd Tim 3:12; Rev 12:11)
In recent times, we have heard about the spate of Christians being attacked in various parts of the world: how churches have been destroyed, Christians imprisoned, tortured or even killed for declaring the name of Christ. This has often caused unbelievers to revile the religion of Christianity: “where is the God of the Christians in all these attacks; why isn’t he able to deliver them?” and sadly, many professing believers who have thought this way have either denied the faith or rejected the texts above as not pertaining to Christians of the 21st century.
It is important to know that the church of God has, from time past, been facing severe opposition and attacks from the devil: starting with the head of the Church-Christ-to the saints that constitute the body of Christ. This had already been foretold by Christ (John 15:19-20; John 16:33) and further revealed by the apostles (2nd Tim 3:12; 1st Peter 4:12-14).This is the truth. Believers who live in areas of relative peace are not any more preferred than those in troubled areas. The question then is, if these things must happen, what is the victory of the Church?
We might be tempted to think of our victory as believers as simply God hindering our attackers from physically harming us. While this is true, it would be well for us to know that our real victory lies in this: that in spite of attacks and oppositions, we don’t lose Christ (or rather, our testimony of Christ). History has taught us that, while some believers were miraculously delivered from death, some were allowed to face death to the glory of Christ. The bible also attests to this (Acts 12; Hebrews 11:32-38). Regardless of the circumstances, one thing is certain: God is always with his children. He comforts us in our sorrows and afflictions; He gives us the strength to bear every pain and suffering (there are ample examples in scripture to prove this).
Indeed, as Apostle Paul reckons in 2nd Timothy 3:12, every believer who truly proclaims the name of Christ in truth will suffer one persecution or the other. The enemy tries to use these persecutions to cause us to lose our testimony of Christ (Revelations 12:17). So let it be known that the enemy becomes victorious when men deny the faith in the face of trials (even if they are spared from physical attacks!).
It behoves us then to be sober and vigilant, holding firmly to the anchor of our soul-Christ. Let this also comfort us: that Christ is faithful to keep us till the very end if we hold firm our profession. We need to reject every self-love gospel that hinders our maturity in Christ. Let’s strengthen our intercession for one another: praying for the Kingdom of God to be established on the earth and for our faith as believers to wax stronger for Christ. More so, that we would not measure our relationship with Christ (or the love of Christ towards us) based on the nature of our outward circumstances.
God bless you.