Satan, author of evil, is the arch enemy to every Christian. From the beginning of his own attempt to overthrow God, he has been wreaking havoc in the world and particularly in the lives of Christians. His schemes have been treacherous; his attempts murderous.
He tried to destroy Jesus at birth when he instigated Herod to order all male babies under 2 to be killed. He thought he had destroyed Jesus at the cross; instead, Jesus conquered death, rising again, and assuring that all who are in Christ will rise also. Even as Jesus ascended back to heaven before His resurrection, when He appeared to Mary and the disciples, (Eph.4:8-10, Col.2:15) demons tried to cling on to Him, keeping Him earthbound, desiring to keep Him from presenting Himself at the Mercy Seat of God, as the fulfillment of the perfect sacrifice for mankind, but Jesus shook them off, revealing again His absolute authority over all.
Today, Satan does everything he can to keep anyone from receiving Jesus as their Savior. Failing that, he does everything he can to keep a Christian from walking close to God, scheming with all manner of wickedness to draw one away from the One called the Lord Jesus.
There are persecutions against Christians around the world. There have always been persecutions, and until Jesus comes to take us to heaven to be with Him, there always will be terrible maltreatment. That fact is not a surprise. Regarding this, I quote a dear brother, Tim Herbert, founder of Syzygy, a UK based organization giving practical and pastoral support for Christian Missions, who wrote to me this very week concerning the persecution of Christians. He said:
“The writers of the New Testament letters frequently referred to suffering when they wrote to encourage their flocks. They regularly stressed that it was normal, that we had been warned in advance about it, and that it’s all part of the conflict in which we are on God’s side. Jesus said that the world would hate us because it hated him first (John 15:18ff). We in the west have been mostly insulated by the ‘Christian’ nature of our culture from the normality of suffering which is only too familiar to people in central Asia.
The Apostles’ teaching did not deny the tragedy of their suffering, but placed it into a larger context. We read of Peter and John rejoicing that they had been considered “worthy” of suffering shame after they had been flogged (Acts 5:41)! Paul talks about “momentary light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17) and says that the suffering of this life cannot be compared to the glory of the next (Romans 8:18).”
In the west, we do not currently suffer murderous threats on the scale as happens daily in so many other countries. Nonetheless, there may come times when we are called upon to stand up and be counted. Let us not forget our Christian brothers and sisters who suffer physical pain, even death, and emotional heartbreak and grief everyday. Let us hold them up to our Father in prayer, and let us pray for ourselves, that if given opportunity to suffer for Jesus, we, also, would stand and be counted with God’s own courage and joy.
When evil seems to triumph, remember that Jesus has already conquered everything devilish and wicked. A time has been promised when Satan will be cast away from us for eternity, and God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. Until that time, we can encourage each other with Paul’s words found in Romans 8:18-19 & 31, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are…What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”