United Under Persecution
“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16)
In a conference where there was a session on the persecuted churches in Asia and the Middle East, my eyes were opened to the great heart these local church leaders must have in order to make a stand for Jesus. It is true that where the gospel is shared, persecution follows. But it is also persecution that keeps the churches united. I vividly recall how the speaker said, “when we think of the body of Christ, we don’t see it as body parts like hands, feet, body or head. Many can still function without the hands or without the eyes or without the feet because the church can be divided that way. When we think of how the Body of Christ comes together, we see the churches as blood, bones and muscles. There is no possible way that a body can function without each other.” The persecuted churches rely heavily on the support of other churches and the prayers of the body of Christ.
We know that the churches undergoing persecution are not allowed to gather in public. They are not allowed to carry their Bibles nor sing worship songs. The consequences are so grave that it includes imprisonment and possibly death. But despite their limitation, they are not afraid to do the very thing that puts their life in danger. They understand clearly that apart from Jesus they will surely die and that dying for Jesus will be worth it knowing what lies ahead. The speaker reminded us that we are not to pray for persecution to stop for the Bible clearly says that the last days will be filled with persecution. Instead, we, as a Body of Christ, must pray that the churches shine as brightly and remain steadfast in the face of persecution. Let us always remember these churches in prayer for they are part of the body of Christ.
Thank You, Lord, for showing me that part of the Body of Christ are the persecuted churches. Thank you that persecution has made the church even more united than ever. I pray that they find strength in you as they stand for your name.
Learn more about the persecuted churches and include them in your prayer as an act of standing with them.