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On Christian Virtue Part 16

Persecuted for all the Right Reasons.  Part Three.

In the last post, I wrote that living a life in accordance with biblical principles; living righteously, even when done quietly will result in persecution by those in the world opposed to God and Christ.  There are two humanities, those who are against God and those who are His children.  Those in the world have no common ground with those redeemed out of the world’s ways, and the result of these two humanities who are at odds is, Jesus tells us, persecution.  This week I want to look at the issue of what it means if you’re not being persecuted and why persecution for the right reasons is a blessing.

In this tolerant world, the only thing that is not tolerated is an exclusive truth claim.  To say there is one way or one truth is to commit the worst offense in society today.  But this is exactly what Christians are called to believe, to proclaim, and to defend.  When you do, you will be persecuted.  You will lose friends; you will be pressured to renounce your belief, you may lose your job, you might be ostracized by your family.  This is the type of persecution that will come when you hold fast to the biblical truths of orthodox Christianity.

But what if you’re not being persecuted, not even a little?  What does that mean?  This may be hard to hear, but if you aren’t being persecuted in some way for your belief in Christ, it means you have made peace with the world.  You have found a way to ‘fit in’; the world sees you as one of its own.  Perhaps you talk like the world, dress like the world, do things people of the world do at work or in leisure.  You must be living in such a way that the world thinks you are like them.  That’s not good news.  You won’t be persecuted if you seem to have the same views, values, and priorities as the world, even if you don’t completely agree with the world.

I’m not saying you have to go out and try to cause trouble, but if Jesus, Paul, and Peter tell us clearly that Christians will be persecuted and it is not happening to you, there is some soul searching that needs to be done.  You need to examine your life and see if there is something you’re doing that you shouldn’t be doing or something you’re saying that you shouldn’t be saying.  In other words, you need to ask yourself “what needs to change?”

Here are some areas in your life you may want to examine and some questions you might ask yourself.  Do people know you are a follower if Christ?  Do you mention your church attendance, your home fellowship group or that you attend a Bible study?  Do you control your words and try to build up or encourage others in your conversations?  Are your leisure activities wholesome?  When listening to a friend’s troubles do you offer to pray?  Have you explained the why you believe Jesus Christ is the answer to people’s loneliness, quest for meaning or the answer to why we are here?  These are just a few questions to ask yourself if you wonder why you aren’t being persecuted for righteousness sake or, for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Remember, Jesus said if you look and act like the world, the world will accept you as its own.  If that’s the case, then you need to consider these words from James 4:4: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

It is good to examine yourself in light of God’s word.

Next week, why and how to rejoice when persecution comes.

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