Over the past couple of decades, religion across the world has been mocked and, in some cases, individuals have been persecuted for their faith. In some countries, people must worship in secret to keep from being beaten or going to jail. All of these things were done while governments told their citizens that they would be tolerant of religion and make concessions for different beliefs. Those promises were merely words to placate the masses. All the while, thousands of people were quietly threatened to give up their faith or face the consequences. Most, if not all, in those countries, refused to give up on their faith and endured the consequences.
In the United States, Christians face ridicule daily and are often seen as people who are stupid or gullible for believing in some unseen spirit in the sky. Americans live in a country that was originally founded on the freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers thought that there were three things that were so very important to a nation. One of those fundamental rights is free speech and a free press. The authors of the United States Constitution believed that in order for a democracy to flourish, it must allow individuals to share their thoughts without fear of a government bent on silencing individuals and ideas. The second was the ability for citizens to peaceably protest and to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. Citizens have the right to stand up and let their voices be heard when they believe that the government has overstepped its authority.
The third, which is actually the first and most important of the three rights mentioned in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, is religion. The government cannot create a national religion or prevent the free exercise of this right. This right, to all, is a sacred right that did not derive itself from the words of men. This right was a God-given right and the Government was given the authority to protect that right.
In time, the right of worship has come under fire. Prayer was taken out of schools and even some municipalities removed their opening prayer to start their meetings. Churches are no longer seen as places of worship, but, rather, as targets for thieves and vandals. My father recalled growing up when churches remained open all day and all night long. People who wanted to pray could go to a church day or night and just pray. Those days have changed. Churches must lock their doors and many have installed security cameras and alarm systems.
What we once took for granted has now changed for the worse. Many have walked away from their faith for various reasons. Some were promised great riches if they would just give to a particular church. When the believers failed to get what they wanted, they were told to give even more to show their faith. After a period of time, they just gave up and felt that all churches were money-making endeavors to line the pockets of a few. Others just gave up on their faith when things got too tough for them. They thought that Christainity protected them from horrible situations and that they wouldn’t have to go through bad experiences.
For whatever reason, many have given up on their faith and their salvation. They listened to those in the world who have mockingly asked Christians about the existence of God. The world planted seeds in the minds of people who may not have sought God’s gift of wisdom, but relied upon their own understanding. In short, they threw their faith and salvation away. They gave back the gift given by God through His son, Christ Jesus.
This sinful world doesn’t make it easy on Christians. We suffer daily from ridicule and laughter. You can’t turn on the television without hearing someone poke fun at believers and call them “stupid”. Some will preach their own religion and tell all who listen that all paths lead to salvation. No matter what is said or done, we all face some sort of suffering for our faith. For some, that suffering comes in the form of words while for others it may be imprisonment or death.
In either extreme and in all cases in between, we must be prepared to suffer for our faith and not throw it away. We must learn to take the bitter with the better and rise up as Christians to support one another. We must act as a family that stays and prays together.
The author of the Book of Hebrews, in chapter 10, writes, “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.”
There are better things for you. God has made that promise to you when you accepted His son as your personal Savior and Lord. The things that God has given you will last forever. When one Christian suffers, we all suffer. We suffer together for our faith and for the promise of everlasting life with the Father.
I know that the suffering that is often heaped upon us is difficult and it would be so easy just to give up. It is during those times when you should seek God and ask for wisdom. Ask other Christians to pray for you in your time of suffering. Our ministry has a prayer request form prominently displayed on the first page of our website. We and so many others are here to pray and help you when you are suffering and feeling like you just want to give up and throw it all away.
The author later writes, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”
Patient endurance is the key to living daily in a sinful world. Satan will always whisper in your ear and try to convince you to give up on your faith. He will use people to call you stupid and, worse, to ridicule you. But, you cannot give up on your faith and the gift of salvation. Don’t let anyone or anything cause you to throw it all away.
Before you get to that point, I ask you to remember the last sentence of chapter ten of the Book of Hebrews. The author writes, “But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.”
You were never forced to accept God’s undeserved gift of salvation. You accepted it freely. It is up to you whether or not you will keep it or throw it all away. It is your decision to make. But, before you make that decision, I implore you to reach out to other Christians for prayer. Seek God’s will and His gift of wisdom. If you do those things, God will place a hedge of protection all around you and give you whatever you need to strengthen your faith. You have an entire heavenly armory at your disposal to fight against the darkness. Don’t throw it away. Stand firm in His grace.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.