18Jan

Blessed are the persecuted. God says you rock.

“Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9, NKJV

by Toni Birdsong
Courage in the face of persecution: Some days you’ve got a lion’s supply of it. Other days, your heart feels like slipping off into the night like a worn out alley cat. Standing up and apart as a Christian in today’s digital culture will at times take everything you’ve got.

Online you will experience days of pure elation, divine connection, and eternity-altering testimony. Then there are the other days—days of missteps, misinterpretation, anxiety, self-doubt, rejection, and full-out persecution. At times the persecution will come from the expected places—opposing theologies, no theologies, or just cantankerous folks looking to scrap. At other times—and perhaps the more heartbreaking—the attack will come from within the tribe of believers. Ouch.

Roll with it. Persecution for what you believe is part of the cost of being a disciple. So go ahead, say it: “I’m gonna get slammed from time to time.” (See? It just feels better to say it out loud!)

Have heart. Press on. The mission outweighs the moment.

As Pastor Paul Washer says, “We are not called to build empires. We are not called to be accepted. We are called to Glorify God.”

Keep Jesus’ encouragement etched in your heart:

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ~ Matthew 5:11–12, NKJV

When persecution closes in hang onto Truth:

  • The cost of momentary persecution is nothing compared to the eternal reward of life with Christ.
  • You can count on adversity, so when it shows up—rejoice in it. Your very presence online bungles the enemy’s plans.
  • The Christian life (anywhere) is not without risk. It’s a beautiful, daring, treacherous adventure. Fall into the joy of it. Accept the turbulence. Rely on God to be your shock absorber.
  • Pray for your enemies then love ’em like crazy.
  • No one is scoring your performance. Relax. Smile. Pray. You will grow as you continue to “go” toward the life He’s called you to.
  • Seek God’s shelter to heal you. In the presence of the Lord is the fullness of joy. Full means full.
  • And lastly, remember this: God loves you. He sent own His son to rescue you from persecution—forever. Others may reject you but God thinks you rock.

Have you encountered persecution online because of your faith? How do you handle it?

Post/Tweet this:
Never lose heart, beloved. Others may reject you but God thinks you rock. #LiveSticky

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  • http://twitter.com/DataGenesis Mark Prasek

    If you are not under attack by Satan and his army, then I would argue that he does not consider you to be a threat. If enough people hear ANY message, SOMEONE will object sooner or later. If you said “I love apple pie” to a large enough group, somebody who’s relative choked to death on apple pie would get their feelings hurt. Your thoughts are clear and cogent. Full Armor!

  • http://twitter.com/DataGenesis Mark Prasek

    If you are not under attack by Satan and his army, then I would argue that he does not consider you to be a threat. If enough people hear ANY message, SOMEONE will object sooner or later. If you said “I love apple pie” to a large enough group, somebody who’s relative choked to death on apple pie would get their feelings hurt. Your thoughts are clear and cogent. Full Armor!

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  • Anonymous

    Amen to that Mark! I think the apple pie comment just took persecution into a whole new visual realm for me—and poured some profound new juice into my tank. Your salutation of “Full Armor,” has never been more true than in the digital realm. Thanks for all you do (in the face of persecution) for the sake of the gospel. I know it’s your joy. Connecting people, collecting and cataloging content, and fueling the mission is not for the weary. I really do love your site: http://datagenesis.blogspot.com/ Full armor, brother!

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    This is really good. The reality is that if you are boldly living for Christ and proclaiming His truth, you will be persecuted. The “true” Gospel is offensive.

    One word of caution I would include is to be careful that you are rightfully discerning persecution. Jesus called us to be “salt and light” NOT bile and vinegar. I think some people are just jerks online and when people oppose them, they look at it as persecution and feel proud that they are “suffering for the Gospel”. The reality is that they aren’t representing Christ but a viewpoint.

    Christ didn’t call us to suffer persecution for viewpoints. True persecution is going to be more than someone calling you stupid or intolerant. When you are showing Christ’s love and get persecuted, you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt the source of the persecution is the enemy. Not just a reaction to your rudeness.

    The Gospel is offensive and foolishness to those perishing, but it does mean that we should be.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Just wow. Awesome insight, Tony. I’m convinced, and you confirm with this comment, that the best part of many blogs is in the comment section!

    May we all be sure we are representing Christ and not a viewpoint. The importance of that statement is reinforced when we think about the cross. Christ didn’t die for a “viewpoint,” but for our sin. The weight (cost) of that bears down on every Christian as we move, communicate, and express the gospel online and elsewhere.

    Super critical. Would love to see you blog on viewpoints vs. gospel truth. SUCH an important issue with everyone “talking” so much more these days!

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.burge Charles F. Burge

    How do I handle persecution? Usually not very well. Knowing that it helps refine me and strengthens my faith is about the only thing that helps (1 Peter 4:12-19).

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you Charles. You’d think I would have ti down by now. I recently subscribed to http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx through RSS. It’s a great balancer to my tiny perspective. I really appreciate getting their news feed and connecting to what other Christians around the world are going through just to worship Jesus Christ. My persecution is not much compared to theirs.

    Still, any persecution is a big deal at the time for the person going through it. And you are right—God will use every ounce of that encounter to redesign your heart and your understanding of exactly who He is. Thanks for droppig in, great to have your voice infused. And, I love that scripture!

  • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

    “We are not called to build empires. We are not called to be accepted. We are called to Glorify God.” Great quote right there….

    I’ve had a few ‘intense discussions’ via Twitter DMs, email, and such. It can be very difficult from time to time. What’s important is that we cling to the truth and we don’t let momentary discomfort knock us off track.

    I agree with what Tony said. The Gospel is offensive. The cross is offensive. We have to be willing to offend the world by speaking the truth in love. The tough part is communicating that love effectively in the face of persecution.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Kmac4him

    That was awesome! Thanks! Have you encountered persecution online because of your faith? How do you handle it? Ummmmm Yes, big time! Especially from Atheists! I don’t step into the emotional tornado they spin, I wait till it spins out. I keep constantly-consistently giving them truth with love and they seem to get nastier and nastier, but I stay out of the tornado, I stand on the outside of it, even if they are totally mean to me, I don’t step into that… I keep my focus on Jesus and keep speaking truth with confidence and love. Eventually if they last that long, the tornado spins out and they become more softer and easier to talk to. I had one Atheist that dogged me for a very long time, and he was totally mean and said some pretty cruel things to me, but eventually he said: You are really real… and I got to share deeper with him not being angry for a little while and then he got angry again and just stopped talking to me. But I could tell when the truth I spoke hit a nerve with him, because his anger increased. I would say to him, I guess I hit a nerve because you are cussing more at me and I would make light of it and not take it personally. But the key is, speaking the truth confidently- with love- with hope and not stepping into their emotional tornado.

  • Paul Adcock

    Especially lately. If you are against the gay mob, you will get hit.