I’ve been in 60 different nations around the world, and many of those countries are places where you will suffer just for being a Christian.
For instance, in Turkey or Jordan, kids from Christian homes are treated like outcasts at school. They’re called all sorts of names. They’re given poor grades. Their reports are diminished simply because they call on the name of Christ. There’s tremendous persecution. In most of the world, persecution for being a Christian is the norm. Right now, somebody is dying for their faith in some part of the world. In the U.S., on the other hand, we’ve had religious safety and freedom.
I was talking to a pastor — he’s actually the head of a denomination in Jordan — and I mentioned, “How hard it must be for you and your two boys who have grown up in these Muslim centers. With the persecution you’ve personally received and your children have received, it must be so hard for you to stand up and be a Christian in a culture like this.”
He responded, “It’s easy to stand up in a culture like this. Where it’s hard is in America. I would rather my children know that it’s a fight living for Christ. I would rather my children grow up in an Islamic state like this than in America where they would be bombarded by secular agendas to pull us away from God and Jesus Christ.”
Church, we must not allow ourselves to be seduced away from God by the apparent ease of being a Christian in our culture. The greatest tragedy of all will be when the church stops shining its light, when it stops seeing Jesus as high and lifted up, when it stops exalting God as holy, pure, true, righteous and just.
As scripture exhorts us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:10-12, ESV).
Our greatest hope is truly being a faithful church to the Word of God, true to his Word and consistently bringing honest, full revelations about God.