Persecution Constitution

Posted on Apr 17 , 2014 in Life Lessons & Words Of Jesus

Persecution Constitution

© By Brad L Hodges

Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Persecution for ones beliefs in God can be subtle or a full on onslaught. It depends much on the source. How effectively you confront persecution depends greatly on your constitution.

Dictionary.com defines constitution in part as:

The physical character of the body as to strength, health, etc.: He has a strong constitution.

Medicine/Medical, Psychology: The aggregate of a person’s physical and psychological characteristics.

A full on onslaught of persecution is found in countries like Egypt, Iran and Syria. In these countries it can often lead to death for ones beliefs. However for the purposes of this commentary, the subtle persecution is addressed, since for the time-being we still have freedom of expressing our beliefs here in America.

Subtle persecution can come from a number of sources and often under pretense of friendship or love on the surface, while guerrilla warfare is being waged behind your back. This ‘friendly fire’ may come from the most unlikely camps such as family or close friends who may love you for being a special relation but secretly despise your beliefs. We can call these people “relationship belief limiters *” because while they may love you they put limitations on the extent of that love based on your beliefs.

Another camp one is highly likely to encounter in life is the “relationship belief monger. *” These are usually casual friends or co-workers. Superficially they seem to like you and even engage in seemingly amiable social interaction outside work or within the wide circle of casual friendship. However they are actually involved in a petty or contemptible manner behind your back, mocking your beliefs and your stand for God with gossip. Otherwise known as gossipmonger, these folks are certainly in Satan’s toolbox to be used to attack and weaken a believer.

Rest assured your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8) and since he already owns the lost his focus will be to prey on the believer in any manner and using any source, especially those close to you, he can. Of course if your family, close friends, co-workers or causal acquaintances happen to be believers, Satan’s scope will be greatly limited. This is also not to say that the aforementioned people in your life are all out to ominously be used as tools of the devil against you. Again, just be aware that the devil is cunning, crafty and resourceful and will resort to anything if he has the opportunity to defeat a believer.

A believers constitution to combat these two types of persecution depends on their level of Biblical experience, preparedness and tenure as a believer. New believers are especially vulnerable to attack using relationships.

The great news is God has prepared the believer to battle the assault of Satan in one of the great Biblical passages written by the Apostle Paul:

Ephesians 6 10-20 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

The biblical verses quoted in the opening of this commentary constitute a portion of one of Jesus’s greatest sermons; “The Sermon on the Mount” and are included in what are known as “The Beatitudes.”

Jesus obviously gave great weight to those who are persecuted elevating them to a “great reward in Heaven” for standing their ground against the onslaught of Satan in the face of persecution.

Having a strong and fully prepared persecution constitution will enable you to fight the battles against evil and to be a witness for Christ to those who may persecute you on any level. Sooner or later they will observe that you remain staunch and vigilant against their camps and will either grow to respect your stance or in the best case scenario become believers themselves and inherit eternity with you because you stood mighty in your constitution for Jesus.

* Terms copyright Brad L Hodges November 1, 2013

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