Most Americans have not faced the kind of persecution we see in the Bible. Some have lost family or friends. Some have lost jobs. We have not seen Christians beaten, put in prison, or killed solely because they are a Christian in the United States. If that day does come, how do believers prepare themselves for persecution?
In his book The Book of Signs, 31 undeniable prophecies of the Apocalypse, David Jeremiah gives us three ways to prepare for persecution.
I Thessalonians 3:2-4
And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
- Determine to Stand for the Truth
I Corinthians 16:13-14
13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 14 Let all your things be done with charity.
In both the Old and New Testaments, God instructs His people to be strong. If persecution comes, we must determine to be strong and be willing to pay any price to proclaim the truth. David Jeremiah said it this way, “Whatever the situation, our task is simple: Don’t think about the cost or the result; just think about what you decided in advance that you would do when you are tested.” In all circumstances, we are instructed to speak the truth in love. That includes speaking the truth when it might lead to persecution. (II Timothy 4:2) We may need to be ready to pray the prayer the disciples prayed in Acts.
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.
- Draw Support from One Another
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
This verse seems very fitting for our days. We do see the day approaching, and that means we need the church more than ever. To stand for the truth under persecution we will need the exhortation – the encouragement, comfort, warning, and strengthening – of fellow Christians.
- Derive Your Security from the Lord
If our focus is on heaven and pleasing the Lord, we will not be concerned about what man can do to us. This world is not our home; we are citizens of heaven. We cannot expect this world to treat us any better than it treated Jesus.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
We do not fear men, because we fear Christ.
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Warren Wiersbe said of this verse, “When you fear God, you need fear nothing else.”
The Bible is filled with God’s people who lost possessions, health, and even their lives. The day may come when we are called to do the same.