Caleb Stephen is a conservative Christian commentator, columnist, freelance journalist, political activist and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Caleb Report. He is also the founder of Pursuit of God Daily and the founder and editor-at-large of Ultimate Survival Gear, Australia’s No. 1 emergency preparedness and education website. Visit his website www.calebstephen.com and follow him on Twitter @CalebSOfficial.
For today’s Christian, the surrounding culture is a hostile one with so much that is so diametrically opposed to the Christian faith. Being a Christian in this current climate is no easy walk in the park and that’s why so few are willing to commit to walking the narrow way.
In the new year that lies before us, the challenge will be greater than ever before. The enemies of God will wage a fierce war and it will be more intense and more targeted than anything we’ve tasted before.
I can tell you that as the new year gets underway, we will see more Christian bakers, florists, pastors and TV stars, who dare to be public about their faith and stand up for Biblical beliefs, viciously attacked by the cultural Marxist mafia.
I want you to seriously ask yourself whether you’re prepared to be one of those people persecuted for the sake of Christ. Are you ready for it?
You don’t even need to be someone in the public spotlight all the time to come under fire for even identifying as a Christian. You don’t need to be a journalist or a TV star to be persecuted. Last year alone, we saw numerous cases of humble bakers and florists feel the heat for refusing to compromise, for refusing to back down on their Christian beliefs when it comes to supplying services for homosexual “weddings.”
You see, as Christians we are told to expect persecution and to be prepared for it. Persecution not in the sense of us being mean, malevolent and bigoted but merely for the fact that we represent and live out the teachings of Christ in the way that He has instructed us to.
If you want to live a godly life, well then you will suffer persecution 100% guaranteed. Persecution is part and parcel of the genuine Christian life.
2 Timothy 3:12 says: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Notice the verse says will, not maybe or perhaps.
I know what you’re thinking. You think “oh but that’s really radical.” Yes it is. The Christian faith is a radical one. It’s one of becoming a new creature in Christ, it’s about dying to self and being willing to suffer, to be humiliated and perhaps even die for Christ.
Our Lord was radical. He wasn’t regarded as popular amongst the people of His day. He was doing things and saying things that rocked the boat and made people hate Him to the point that they killed Him – which was in God’s plan of course. In John 15:18, Christ says: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
When truth comes into contact with evil, there will always inevitably be conflict. As Dr Francis Schaeffer rightly said: “Truth carries with it confrontation.”
What does it mean to truly be a disciple of Christ?
Luke 9:23 has a blunt answer: Then He [Jesus] said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Christ’s command to the believer is clear: to forsake all that pertains to worldliness and carnality and follow after him. This is the radical transformation of the individual from a creature who believes that life is all about gaining, achieving and receiving in the pursuit of self glorification to a person who has been crushed in humility and is obedient and willing to forsake all and give all for the sake of Christ.
Luke 6:22 tells us that we are “blessed” when we are hated, excluded and kicked out for Christ’s sake.
Matt 5: 13 – 16 says “13 You are the light of the world. 14 A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Notice that it doesn’t say you will be the light of the world. It says you are the light of the world. That means anyone who calls themselves a Christian is to live light. That’s a directive, not an option.
In Matthew 10:16 Christ says “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
Are you ready to stand and be counted as follower of Christ in 2017?