Thriving in Persecution

We don’t just survive persecution, we thrive. Whether well fed or hungry, rich or poor, in persecution or freedom, east or west, we will be content in Jesus and make disciples.

This is one of our mission statements at Global Catalytic Ministries and we believe it’s not only possible for every Christian to live this way, it’s critical.

When the Western church considers their persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide, it’s often done with a mix of pity and gratitude. Pity for those suffering and gratitude that they themselves aren’t suffering in the same way.

The persecuted church, funnily enough, feels the same way about the church in the West.

It’s human nature to shy away from pain, but a closer look at the Bible shows us that we are intended to not just survive persecution, but to thrive in it.

Blessed are Those

In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls those who are persecuted for righteousness sake blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. He actually tells persecuted believers to rejoice in their persecution, because their reward will be great.

How have we missed this? Why do so many of us spend such an inordinate amount of effort setting up a safe, comfortable life where we will face as little trials as possible? It’s not possible for the true Christian, and it certainly isn’t Biblical.

Contrarily, we are told to count it as joy when we face trials of various kinds. That passage in James suggests earthly rewards for suffering (perseverance leading to maturity) as well as eternal ones.

Strength for Weakness

When we look at the persecuted church, we see this Biblical truth lived out before our eyes. In areas where the church faces the most severe backlash, we also see the most growth. This is not accidental- it’s a Kingdom exchange: our weakness for His strength. 

The persecuted church knows that in their persecution they are being made like Jesus on Earth and earning a share of His eternal reward in Heaven. For the Christian, there could be no greater joy. 

Pursue Jesus

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should pursue persecution just for persecution’s sake. We are meant to pursue Jesus- wildly, bravely, wholeheartedly, and with complete abandon. When we embrace the Biblical understanding of persecution, we can do this without hindrance or fear. 

By making peace with the eventuality that Christians will suffer, and embracing the astounding truth that this suffering actually makes us blessed, on Earth and in Heaven, we can obey the call of God on our lives. In turn, we can impact the world like the early church did, with a faith that changes work places, cities, nations, and even generations. 

It’s high time for the global church to redefine our understanding of persecution, and by doing so free ourselves up to thrive in all circumstances, serving Jesus whatever the cost.

The underground church joyfully pursues Jesus, even in the midst of persecution

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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”