Did you know Billy Graham recently issued a warning for believers in America? It is more of a reminder of what God’s word has already stated: prepare for persecution. Many of us in this blessed United States have no idea what it really means to be persecuted. We don’t understand the degree of sacrifice that is required. So, in case you missed it in God’s word, Billy Graham has sounded the alarm.
How does one “prepare” for persecution?
First of all, fight off the default to fear. (Philippians 1:27-29) Fear, by it’s very nature, erodes our faith. Fight fear like you would an intruder in your house, remembering to also use your Sword of the Spirit and your Shield of Faith. Choose not to kneel to fear. (John 14:27) Jesus alerted us to the hate that will abound towards those who love Him and keep His commandments. (John 15:18-19) Walk wisely with an ear tuned into the Holy Spirit’s instruction. (Matthew 10:19) Here is where your faith must be unhindered in order to confidently obey the leading of the Lord.
Next, expect persecution. Don’t get caught off guard. (Matthew 24:24-25) Decide your stance ahead of time, then hold to it as the Holy Spirit empowers you. Take heart. He will give you all you need for the moment.
Also, it is imperative that you cement your relationship with Jesus. If you are going through every day with a lukewarm or “at arms length” relationship with Jesus, now is the time to pull in close to Him. (Matthew 7: 21-24) Get to know Him for yourself. Don’t count on your pastor, your parent, your friend or the person on the other end of the TV evangelist’s prayer line. You will buckle if you don’t know Jesus personally as your Lord, Savior, and intimate friend.
Most important of all, pray! Luke 21:36 tells us to pray specifically to be counted worthy to escape what will come to pass. Don’t stop praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) At the risk of being misunderstood, I offer Isaiah 57:1 for your consideration when you hear that a righteous person has died:
“The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity … “
God has well prepared for righteous individuals and eagerly waits to crown them with glory and beauty. So, pray for God’s mercy upon our land and its people. Pray for those who don’t know the Lord–even our enemies. A Christian witness is a powerful tool in God’s hand. Pray for those who are lukewarm to feel a hunger and thirst for a white-hot relationship with our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Pray, if necessary, for the passion to keep praying about the incoming tidal wave of persecution. We must be ready, having done all, to continue to stand fast in Jesus and the faith He desires from us.
How are you preparing for the incoming persecution of Christians? Are you personally aware of anyone who has already faced persecution because of their stand for Jesus?