Jesus and the apostles prophesied of a period of time ahead when the followers of God would be persecuted even to the point of death. They were referring to something very specific i.e. during a particular time period during the last days before Jesus’ return. It’s surprising how dull of hearing it is possible to become and not actually hear such words.
There is a present day belief among our Christian brothers and sisters that the Church will be spared all such dangerous things, but that is naive at best and dangerous plus disobedient to God’s Word at worst.
The Word of God does not promise blanket immunity from the Adversary’s persecutions. Therefore, we should not believe that such a thing exists. On the contrary, we should prepare ourselves so that we overcome, even if that means not loving our lives to the death. For us, there is a greater prize, a bigger world and a Lord who will return bearing his rewards with him. Therefore, our heart should be firmly pitched into eternity, not the short term and temporal world we find ourselves in at this present time. There is a time coming when all the tribulations and persecutions of the present age will have diminished; they will have evaporated into insignificance after the glory of Jesus Christ arrives. There is no comparison.
So, gird up your minds. Strengthen your resolve with the Word. And put on the whole armour of God today so that you can stand and withstand the wiles of the devil for both today and tomorrow. Be ready. Be prepared. Be wise today and you will reap the benefits not only in the present time but also during the period of persecution ahead, as well as for all eternity if you endure.
‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.’ (James 1:12)