The Price of Persecution
STRENGTH FOR TODAY - Dr. Harold J. Sala (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2019 - 12:00am

The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Daniel 6:7

Towards the end of his life, Paul wrote a letter to his son in the Lord, Timothy. Paul tells of some of the difficulties that he had encountered, persecutions which he had endured. Then he says, “Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.” He then makes a somewhat shocking statement. He says, “In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, Holman Christian Standard Bible).

When persecution strikes, many fall away. Like those in the parable of the sower and the tares, they consider the price too great and distance themselves from the faith.

Others, however, simply go underground. They are the ones who say, “They cannot stop us from worshiping at home.” Secret believers, their visual witness becomes a powerful testimony to God’s indwelling presence.

Some commit themselves to the hands of God and are willing to face prison instead of capitulating. Such was Wang Ming-Dao, a Chinese pastor in Shanghai, who was imprisoned by the Communists. When he was offered a chance to gain his freedom by denouncing his faith, he reasoned that he could sign the docu- ment and not mean it. He did; then realizing what he had done, he walked the streets saying, “I am Judas. I am Judas.”

Going back to the authorities, he said, “Put me back in prison; I will never deny Jesus Christ again.” For the following 22 years he paid the price and became a powerful witness in prison of how God can and does meet someone who stands without compromise for the cause of Christ.

Read the fine print, friend. Jesus said you cannot be His disciple without taking your cross and following Him. What you may not have been told is that there is a price to pay but the reward is heavenly. Never forget it.

* * *

Used with permission from Guidelines International Ministries. To learn more about Guidelines and the ministry, send an e-mail to info@guidelines.org. You may also visit www.guidelines.org.

HAROLD J. SALA
Philstar
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