Peace in Persecution, Fearlessness in Suffering
Every believer will encounter persecution and opposition of some kind as they walk out the call of God. This is nothing new. Christian persecution has been in existence since the beginning of the Church. What we are experiencing in the world presently is a sign to us of the advancing Kingdom of God. None of it is a surprise to God. Jesus expected it for Himself, and He knew we would also face trouble and tribulation in the world; therefore, He made every provision available to us for such times by pouring out His Spirit.
In light of this, we do not ask whether or not suffering and persecution will come. It will. The question we ask is how we are to respond. Do we hide in a hovel, bury our heads in the sand or in some way disengage from life? Do we become defensive, plot revenge and live with an us-or-them mind-set? No. This is not the way of the Kingdom of God.
We are in Christ, and Christ, the Prince of Peace, is in us by the gift of the Spirit. The peace of Christ enables us to walk in God-given authority to remain standing, immovable and unwavering, rooted and grounded in Jesus, while the world shakes and trembles. We are able to do this because we know that our eternity is secure, and our authority is sure. God is on our side. The peace of Christ is more powerful than the persecution around us.
As followers of Christ, we are to lay down our lives freely for the sake of the Kingdom. We must come to the place where we are willing to pay the price. A passion for self-preservation can drive people to make decisions that compromise their moral values and personal integrity. They do not do what they know to be right, or they feel compelled to do what they would never do under normal circumstances.
Sin has been forgiven. Death has been conquered. Satan has been thrown down. The Holy Spirit has been poured out. The Kingdom of God is advancing. Jesus has ensured victory, promised eternal life, imparted His peace and issued the call and commission. Can we be anything but fearless, even in the face of suffering and persecution?