This post is the first in a series discussing practical ways Christian families can prepare to face persecution.
Persecution. That’s a word we don’t like to hear. It conjures up Christians thrown to the lions in ancient Roman arenas, martyrs burned at the stake, and news reports of mass executions by Islamic fundamentalists.
At this moment, my family and yours may not be looking down a gun barrel because of our faith. But I can follow current events well enough to know that it is time to decide whom I fear more: God or man. In a land increasingly ruled by King Political Correctness and Queen Moral Relativism, people who live biblically are already being threatened with economic sanctions: tax penalties or the loss of a business, for instance. Or we are ridiculed and misjudged as “intolerant” or “bigoted.” Sometimes we are marginalized as non-intellectuals if our views don’t line up with the current educational indoctrination.
When any form of persecution enters our lives, we have a choice: compromise our beliefs and values to avoid conflict, or stand firm for Christ, accepting the risks. What will you and your family choose?
Personally, this is my goal:
When my family members encounter opposition because of our faith, we will remain faithful to Christ no matter the cost.
Sounds impressive. Yet I know that none of us really knows how we’ll bear up under pressure. We are, after all, ultimately dependent on the grace of God.
But like a runner training for a race, there are steps we can take now to strengthen ourselves for the challenge.
When Do We Begin?
Don’t wait until persecution hits to start preparing for it. Do you think this summer’s Olympic athletes won’t train for their events until they board their flight to Rio?
Maybe you think your children are too young to discuss such a frightening topic. This is a point on which you can trust God to guide you. Pray diligently, prepared to speak to them as soon as He presents opportunities.
And recognize this: you already arm them against other dangers like speeding cars and predators. In this fallen world, persecution is equally to be expected. So we can talk to young children about this potential danger just as we do those others. Click here for a helpful article with some tools for addressing persecution with young children.
Where Do I Start?
Preparing our children for persecution consists of taking 4 key steps.
Don’t Settle for Being Religious. In a recent post, I said that you must start by examining yourself. Only if you have discovered that there is no hope for your soul except in Jesus Christ will you risk everything for Him. A relationship with the living God, not religion, is worth more than anything this poor, dying world could ever offer you.
Nurture Your Children’s Love for Jesus. Make sure your children hear the Good News that Jesus came to die to reconcile them to God by purchasing forgiveness for their sins. Once they have trusted Christ, keep reminding them of all that flows from belonging to Him, and they’ll love Him more and more. We’ll talk in more depth about how to nurture this love in my next post in this series.
Teach Them How to Walk. As athletes develop habits that prepare them for competition, so our children need to develop habits of living the Christian life to strengthen them for spiritual battle. The activity of God’s Holy Spirit should be evident in their daily behavior. Starting now. We’ll dig into exactly how Christian living prepares our families for persecution later in this series, too.
Ground Them. Keep them firmly planted in the truth of God’s Word, the Bible. Tell them the true stories of other believers who have endured persecution. Keep following this series, and I will share with you some of the helpful resources I’ve found.
How Can Parents Help Each Other?
See the space at the bottom of this post where you can “Add Your Thoughts”? Take this opportunity to share what you have learned in this area of training up children to stand strong for Jesus Christ. What helped your family? What didn’t? Or perhaps you’ve just started thinking about this and have tons of questions. Ask them. If we all pool our experience, we will build up the body of Christ and strengthen one another for the challenges to come.
So please share what you know. And ask your questions.
Others need to hear what you have to say.
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