The news this week has been filled with reports of increased persecution of Christians in Syria. The latest report I read said that at least 220 Christians had been taken by ISIS this week, and if the reports of the past few months are any indication, unless God intervenes these believers will probably be beheaded for their faith.
This has caused me to ask myself a very important question: Am I strong enough in my faith to stand firm if such persecution comes to our nation? It’s a question that demands an answer from me – and from all true believers in Christ in the United States, as our nation changes before our eyes. Being a Christian is no longer “politically correct” in our nation founded on Christian principles. We are not yet facing the kind of persecution that ISIS is pouring out, but opportunities to compromise our faith are already becoming pervalent in our land.
In 2012, in a article in The Christian Post about Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who had been charged with apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, simply because he had protested the mandatory teaching of Islam at his children’s school, Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of American Center For Law and Justice (ACLJ) was quoted as saying, “The human response any time we are in peril, is to save our human lives, rather than to think about our spiritual life.” [Nadarkhani] was given opportunities in the Iranian court to walk free from jail and renounce his faith, yet he didn’t do so. Sekulow said, “That’s the example we hope to follow.” While Pastor Nadarkhani was later acquitted, many who have faced similar situations have remained faithful to death.
While we hope that our faith will remain strong and unwavering if the time comes that American Christians face the level of persecution currently being endured by Syrian Christians, in reality we know that it will be very difficult. During this time when Christian persecution is just beginning in the United States, we need to examine ourselves and see if we are prepared to stand firm in our faith or if we will be so focused on our lives on earth that we will choose to compromise our faith. The cry of my heart is to ask God what changes I need to make so that I will be willing to lay down this life on earth so that I will be counted faithful to live with the One Who laid down His life for me.