Have you been hearing church leaders say, “prepare for persecution”? While it seems obvious that people within the American gov’t, business and social institutions are turning against Jesus Christ and Biblical truth, I wonder if focusing on persecution is giving us a complete picture of all the available options.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God provides us with an If – Then proposition.  He says: “if my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

The verse provides a conditional promise of blessing.  It says if we do 4 things, which are:

  • Humble ourselves
  • Pray
  • Seek God’s face
  • Turn from our wicked ways

Then God says He will a) hear from Heaven; b) forgive our sin, and c) heal our land.

We must assume that if persecution is coming it’s because we are not doing our part.  Let’s unpack the 4 activities that make up our part:

  • To humble ourselves means we see ourselves as sinners needing to be saved by grace. It means acknowledging that from Genesis to Revelation, God reveals Himself to the world through Christ, who is co-Creator with God and who gave Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.
  • To Pray means to speak with God & let God speak to us. In Matt 6: 5-15 Jesus says when you pray do not be like the hypocrites, who love to make a public display of their prayers, “that they may be seen by others.” In Matt 6: 7 Jesus says “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases or “vain repetitions” thinking we’ll be heard because we say the same words over and over.” Instead we should tell God what we have done, are doing and are concerned about.
  • To Seek God’s face means relating to Him, as your personal Heavenly Father, who loves us, disciplines us ad blesses us for our own good, and not as an errand boy to satisfy every wandering desire. Your personal relationship with God conforms our character to His.
  • To turn from our wicked ways means we confess our sins, per 1 John 1: 9-10, which says 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” We can ask God to work sincere repentance into our hearts, so we are capable of doing a 180 degree about face, away from our sin and towards God’s will for our lives.

Instead of acting as if spiritual decline and persecution is inevitable, what would happen if we took God’s Word seriously, and expected that if we do our four parts God indeed will do His three, which includes healing our land?

Proclaiming persecution, while ignoring the specifics of what God’s word says, seems like the easy way out.  If, however, we think through the horrible outcomes from governments attacking Christians, we realize there’s a devastatingly hard cost to pay.

Proclaiming repentance may seem risky but it’s the only way for us to get lifted up in liberty.

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