Are we simply members of a church, or are we active followers of Christ?
Author Nik Ripken has spent time with believers in several countries and has learned from their faithfulness in the face of threats and death. He shares his message of global discipleship and issue a call for us to live radical Christ-centered lives, regardless of the cost. If we’re living in safety and comfort, we may not be effective in our discipleship. One Chinese pastor told him, “We don’t consider members to be followers until they’ve led another person to Christ and helped to plant churches.” It’s not about fear or courage; it’s about obedience.
According to Nik, “About 70% of all practicing Christians live in environments that are defined by persecution.” They can live in those environments because they have learned to say with confidence, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” He encourages us to pray for the church at large, but specifically the church in America, which has been lulled into comfort and compromise. Christians are more effective when they are squeezed rather than coddled.
Nik says, don’t pray for the hardships to end. That may be our first response, a natural reaction to any type of suffering, but it’s counter-productive.
“Jesus did not rescue a single person from persecution. He said, it’s normal, they did it to Me, they’ll do it do you. He told them to flee to another town – but He didn’t tell them to leave their people.”
When we are targeted for our faith, God will give us the strength and courage in the moment to hold fast to Him.
Nik’s book is The Insanity of Obedience.