Free From Persecution?

[5 min read]

Laws are being passed to ban conversion in Sri Lanka. Islamist extremists in Nigeria make vows that “not one Christian will survive.” Vietnamese authorities finally release a 22-year old teacher after beating, abusing and torturing her until she had a mental breakdown (she was classified as a political prisoner, when she simply was teaching children Bible stories). Militants in Pakistan kidnap a pastor, claiming they will kill Christians unless the US pull troops out.

And we sit in our comfortables houses, in front of our nice computers, with none of these worries whatsoever. The church and Christians on the other side of the world are being persecuted, and we need to pray for them. We are so blessed to be living in the US. We can freely walk into a church basically any day of the week. College campuses pack their auditoriums for nights of worship throughout the school year. We can open up the bible and read God’s word in our bedrooms, in a coffeeshop, on a park bench, or any other place we can find. Praise God we don’t have to face persecution here, right?
PLEASE. That is the worst mentality to have. Satan is attacking Christians in any way possible, doing whatever he can to pull people away from growing closer to Christ. And around the world, he is using physical persecution. He is shutting down churches, murdering the innocent, banning the reading of the Word. People are seeking underground churches, secretly passing around pages of the Bible to so that people have a chance to read. But here in the US, we don’t face that type of attack. Ours is more subtle, but is making a big impact. The church in the US is being hit hard by ‘culture’, and ‘the entertainment industry.’
Think. What is it that keeps us from praying, worshiping, and reading the Word? It’s not a militant with a gun to our head, it’s not fear of being heard, it’s not a lack of resources. We have about 4 bibles scattered throughout our houses, and how many of us can say that we’ve read it all the way through, even once? How are we to claim we believe in the Word of God as being true and the basis of our faith, and not even know what it has to say? Satan is clearly winning this battle.
In our tech-savvy world, we have so many things pulling our attention away from God. IPods, computers, TVs, DVDs, video games…our desire to chase after God is quickly covered by the ease of living in this culture. We choose chatting online over talking to God, we choose mindlessly browsing the internet over staring deeply into the Word. And the biggest issue is that we don’t recognize the problem. We stick ourselves in front of a TV or computer for hours on end, and don’t see the value in building relationships and spreading the gospel to those who just don’t know. Our voices are being silenced in this world, and we are accepting it as being the way things are.
I truly believe that majority of us would die for the sake of Christ. If we were sent out to the mission field, we’d be preparing ourselves for the persecution, trusting that God is in control, seeking Him out for strength. And so when we don’t put ourselves in that scenario, why would Satan use such an ovious ploy to attack? No, instead we are simply told follow the comfort and ease of living along with everyone else. We are simply choosing to let persecution win the internal battle, until we feel the external struggles.

“The greatest enemy to the US church is the entertainment industry…our spiritual lives are left to compete with our general leisures.”

We are going to continue to be attacked in these subtle ways until we start to overcome. The first step is recognizing the issue. We are in a war, no matter where we are at. And the attacks are unique to our own situation. It is a dangerous lifestyle to follow Jesus, regardless of where you are from. The closer you chase and cling to Christ, the harder Satan will try to pull you away. So if you aren’t feeling the struggle, who do you think is winning? Wake up and fight.