I appreciated her honest Facebook status: “I don’t understand why anyone would want to kill Christians.” After all, how many Western-world Christians considered the ultimate cost when deciding to follow Jesus?
Many of my friends in other nations expected rejection when they followed Christ. Others knew it might require giving up their life. When an Oregon attacker demanded to know the religion of victims before pulling the trigger at Umpqua Community College, we were stunned. Surprised. Fearful.
If they could lose their lives for being “little Christs,” so could we. If someone hated them for being Christians, they could hate us too. If it could happen in Roseburg, it could happen in my town too.
So why would anyone want to kill Christians? God’s word gives us answers.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. (John 15:16-21)
7 Things Christians Should Know
- The world hates Jesus.
- God chose us out of the world.
- The world hates us.
- We bear fruit in the world.
- We love other followers of God.
- Christians don’t belong to the world.
- Disciples should expect persecution.
So why would anyone want to kill Christians? People who don’t know Jesus persecute Christians, because Christians identify with Jesus.
So how can I live in a world that wants to kill me?
- Know to whom I belong.
- Serve the Master who chose me.
- Love people who belong to Him too.
- Bear fruit where people don’t know Him.
- Expect the world to behave like the world.
For those of us who followed Jesus from the comfort of our Western world, most weren’t signing on to look down the barrel of a gun and respond with courage, “I am a Christian.” We haven’t had to pay a very high price. We’ve gotten along with having a bit of a chicken heart since salvation. Our lives look a lot like our neighbor’s. But Jesus was always up front about the realities.
- Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Jesus should expect persecution (1 Timothy 3:12).
- Not even suffering can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-35).
- Jesus will say He knows us, even as we say we know Him (Matthew 10:28-33).
- God knows the sacrifice of each life given in His name, and they will be rewarded (Revelation 20:4-5).
Many faithful souls of courage have gone before us answering, “I am a Christian” throughout history. More joined from Oregon last week. We can’t know if our future will require a declaration of courage in the face of evil. But we know we’re called to be faithful unto death, to be rewarded for answering, “I am a Christian.”
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.