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What does Scripture teach About Living under Persecution?  

Renette Vermeulen 

 

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Facebook Post November 2018

I am stunned by the proliferation of occult visualization and positive confession that guide millions of believers who suffer. “It’s supernatural,” (because it lets us jump over the water and the fire: POW!”) is not the Real Supernatural of God, (“I will be with you as you pass through the water and the fire,” Isa. 43:2; 1 Cor. 10:6-7.) The Holy Spirit and His Gifts and Work are real, but He never works outside the firm framework of Biblical Truth. To say “not everything God does is in the Bible,” thus we “nullify” our prayers by saying, “Let Your will be done,” is a blasphemous deception. The Only Way to “resist the devil so he will flee” is by “submitting to God;” humbling ourselves before Him, and repenting from moral sin, (Jam. 4:7-10; Jn. 13:34, Kjv.)

Of course we must never submit to evil. We must “withstand” it, warn others about its dangers, and flee from it if possible. But in practice, to “Let Your will be done as it is in heaven” [God’s perfect will in our lives,] is praying for God to do whatever is necessary to “let His Kingdom come” in our hearts or human spirits, where His Spiritual Kingdom is seated “on earth.” (Jn. 18:36; 3:16; 1 Ths. 5:23, Kjv.) This is God’s will for us so we can be a testimony “on earth” to His omnipotence (all-might,) omniscience (all-knowing,) and omnipresence (ever-presence) in whatever comes our way.

We obey this prayer Jesus taught us to pray by first seeking the will of God for every particular situation. According to what God is accomplishing in our lives at that moment, “There is a time to [fight, flee, or submit…] to heal or die… Weep or laugh, mourn or dance, gain or lose, keep silent or speak, war or have peace… But whatever God does shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it or taken away…” (Eccl. 3:1-14.) We can never be safer anywhere on earth than when we are in God’s will for that situation – even if it calls for our own suffering and/or physical death, (Rev. 12:11.) Although we must not suffer outside His will.

So, we must NOT adhere to what is NOT written in the Bible, even if such “my-will-solutions” do bring gratification to our needs and wants. Jesus warned, “He who rejects Me and does not [obey] My Words, has that which judges him: the Word that I have spoken will judge him in the Last Day, [at Jesus’ return or at death,] (Jn. 12:48.)


How is it possible that believers can suffer and die and be in God’s will? Didn’t Jesus attain every single thing we might need in our place at Golgotha, and in Him, we have the power to overcome the devil? Certainly. But practically, it doesn’t work the way Prosperity and Faith Teachers taught us. Throughout Scripture, it remains a fact that if we do not suffer persecution for righteousness, (not for our sin,) there is something dreadfully wrong with our lives in Christ. 2 Tim. 3:10; Kjv.: “All those who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Research the following in your own Bible in Heb. Chapter 11. By ordinary steadfast, trusting faith, although it might not “feel” as if we are in God’s will if we obey Him, we are perfectly safe. This is not ‘hyper-faith,’ powered by Christianized visualization and positive confession, but the kind of faith that begins small. However, once established in good soil, true faith grows so big it remains unmoveable while it can “move mountains,” (Mt. 17:20.) Not the “mountains” that ‘hinder super wealth and power.’ Jesus was speaking about the kind of “mountains” that hinder us to look beyond all trouble and suffering to keep our eyes on eternity, no matter what befalls us in this world.

By mustard-seed faith and not Christianized/occult visualization and positive confession, “Abraham obeyed when he was called [out of the world and in modern terms, out of false church religion,] to the place [where it would be possible] to receive [his eternal] inheritance [in heaven.] By faith he dwelt [in the world] as in a foreign country… for he waited for the city which has [eternal] foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God… [All these martyrs] desired a better, that is, a heavenly country…”

1991 Spirit Filled Bible Comments on Heb. 11:35-38, (beware modern versions of this Bible,) “The fact that some believers were delivered while others were tortured in various ways, shows that [true Biblical] faith does not provide an automatic exemption from hardships, trials, and tragedy. The experience of such difficulties does not mean that those undergoing them possess less faith than others who are not afflicted in the same way. The same faith that enables some to escape trouble enables others to endure it, and enables some to escape death while others die in martyrdom. Faith is not a bridge over troubled waters, but a pathway through them… The heroes of faith are not spectators watching us from heaven; rather their lives are witnesses to us, [how to overcome persecutions of all kinds: read 1 Cor. 10:6-13.] Our lives are likened to a FIGHT and a race through which we must “endure afflictions, to KEEP the faith,” (read 2 Tim. 4:3-8; Mt. 24:11-14.) We are to lay aside anything that hinders our progress. The runner must not look to other contestants [and compare his spiritual growth, wealth, happiness, etc., to worldly or church standards,] but must ever keep his eyes fixed on Jesus… Suffering does not mean God is unconcerned about our welfare.” In fact, it shows the opposite. Jesus is preparing all His obedient, true children to share eternity with Him.

Through it all, we can be certain that, if we remain at His feet, as the Perfect Father, God Jesus remains the “Author and Finisher of our faith, (Heb. 12:1-11.) Thus, we need to see all suffering under His control as correction, not as loveless abuse. I wonder where a so-called “mighty man” like Paul would have spent eternity if God allowed him to move the terrible affliction, that mountain of suffering, which was purposed by Jesus to help Paul remain humble at His feet? (2 Cor. 12:7-10.)

I believe, the praises Paul and Silas sang in the dungeon with their feet chained in stocks, after they were stripped naked and beaten badly, went something like this, ‘We praise You Lord of All, our God, Savoir and Deliverer, for You are here with us in this dark hole... therefore, we do not love our lives even unto death, for it is well, it is well with our souls!’ “And suddenly… all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosened… [because that was God's will for that situation,]” (Acts 16:22-34.)

 

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