Preparing for Persecution: Let’s Make a Deal

Have you ever felt like a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal?

You’ve already chosen what’s behind Door #1 but someone’s cajoling you to exchange it for wads of cash . . . You shift from one foot to the other. You think, I’d better keep Door #1. No, wait, look at all that cold, hard cash.  But what if Door #1 holds my dream vacation? Then again, what if it’s a year’s supply of llama food?

Let's Make a Deal

Sure, the game show is silly. But how often in life do we confront a risky choice: stick with what we have, or give it up for something else?

Persecution, my fellow Christians, can call you out and make you the contestant. You’ve chosen Christ; the world badgers you to exchange Him for comfort, status, maybe your family or your life. How will you respond?

What’s Behind Door #1?

In the game show, the contestant doesn’t know what’s behind Door #1 until he makes his choice. Fortunately, Christians aren’t in the dark about their choice. The Bible reveals what we have in Jesus Christ.

But we can forget. Preparing to face persecution must involve reminding ourselves of what—and Whom—we have believed. We need to be like the apostle Paul:

“For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
(II Tim. 1:12)

Do you and your family know whom you have believed? When following Him gets costly, are you convinced you can trust Him with your very life?

Or is Jesus tucked away in a corner of your life, like an old family heirloom that you vaguely expect to be valuable someday but don’t enjoy fully today?

Our faith is not an object–an heirloom, a tradition, a mindset. We have been bought with the precious blood of Christ and reconciled to God our Creator, so we could live in relationship with Him.

Let’s look at Him together now, at this treasure that is Christ. What is He really worth?

Treasure Hidden in a Field

What We Have in Jesus

Life.

  • We were dead in our sins. Because Jesus saved us, we have new life. This still amazes me! (Ephesians 2:1-5)
  • Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” (John 11:25, 26) No one can give us life but the One who has conquered death.
  • There is no other way to eternal life with God. (John 14:6; John 10:27-28; Matthew 7:13-14) Without Christ, we can only wait for the wrath of our holy God to descend on our sinful heads.

Love.

  • “Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Do you hear that? He calls us His friends! And He proved it on the cross.
  • He loves us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) Where in this self-centered world will you ever find self-sacrificing love that never fails you?

Redemption.

  • Our sins had separated us from God, but Jesus died and rose again to redeem us. (Romans 3:23-24)
  • He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light; now we belong to God. (I Peter 2:9)

A New Start.

Goodness.

  • In a world where corruption and deceit and relativism are the norm, isn’t it good to know that there really is One who is truly good? (Mark 10:18) Think of it: every motive, every judgment, every action of His is always good.
  • We serve a holy God—the only righteous One. (Romans 3: 9-20) Would you trade this ruler for one you can’t depend on to act righteously?

Security.

His constant presence.

Joy.

  • In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11); contrast this with the sorrows that pile up on the ones who “bartered for another god.” (Psalm 16:4) Another reminder to keep what’s behind Door #1.
  • Knowing Him brings us “joy inexpressible and full of glory.” (I Peter 1:8) This is not happiness that ebbs and flows with our changing circumstances. This is heart-flooding joy in knowing the living God!

Faith: Assurance and Conviction

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
(Heb. 11:1)

Everyone—yes, everyone—lives by faith. Faith is what bridges the gap between what we can know based on some kind of evidence and what we can’t. Whether it’s faith that our car will safely carry us to our destination, or that a salesman is telling us the truth, or that there is (or isn’t) a God, we act on faith every single day.

The question always is: what will we stake our faith on?

Jesus walked the earth and His life was recorded by eyewitnesses. (Eyewitnesses who, notably, gave their lives for what they believed about Him.)

So while we have some evidence of the validity of His promises, we will only know He will keep them when He does. This is the only remaining mystery about what’s behind Door #1.

I choose to believe He is who He said He is, and will do what He said He will. I will live in celebration of Him. I will depend on Him for strength to stand firm in persecution. What about you?

Celebrate what you have in Him every day.

Then, when persecution makes you a contestant, your answer will be, “No deal.”

Glory to Him Who Keeps Us From Stumbling

This post is part of a series on preparing for persecution.
You can read earlier posts here and here.

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