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Teen talk: Facing persecution

Don’t let others stop you from showing your faith.

Taylor Wolfram

Most of us have never faced the threat of death because of our faith, but everyone has faced persecution. As soon as we speak about our faith, we are stereotyped as ignorant, unaccepting, and hypocritical. We learn not to bring up religion. Christianity is seen as an unspeakable topic that causes divisions.

When I was younger, Jesus was new and exciting, something that everyone needed to hear. So I told everyone. It was a conversation starter. Now when I meet new people, one of the logical questions they ask is where I go to school. After scores of disappointed responses to my answer of a Lutheran high school, I just gave up. I gave them a city, and that seemed to satisfy them. But that seemed to deny Jesus, and I didn’t want to do that.

It’s so easy to say that you’re proud of being a Christian among hundreds of Christians in church on Sunday. It’s easy to say that you’ll follow Christ into death while in your high school religion class. But once you’re out in the world, it’s not as easy. God doesn’t promise rainbows and sunshine if we become Christians. He warns us that it will be hard. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

We may have to endure glares, lose friends, and handle being ridiculed for now, but our suffering is not in vain. Romans 5:3,4 says, “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

And we are not really alone when we confess our faith. The whole world may be lined up against us, but we have God on our side. If God is for us, who can be against us? Plenty of people may stand in our way, may poke fun at us, or may ridicule us, but God will help us persevere. He won’t give us more than we can bear, and he will see us through everything and anything we are going through.

So if you’re going through a rough patch, don’t lose hope. Pray to the Lord. Read your Bible. You will get through it. This world is temporary, but your salvation is eternal. Hold steadfast, and no one will be able to separate you from Christ. No trouble, hardship, persecution, or temptation will be able to lure you away from what really matters. You could go along with the world and gain tons of friends, but none of that will matter if you lose your eternal salvation.

If others forsake you for your faith, your witness is a bold confession for all to hear. You are living your faith as God wants you to. Don’t be afraid of persecution. It’s just showing that you are not from this world, you don’t agree with it, and you won’t consent to the temptations of it. You are looking forward to the world to come.

Don’t lose sight of that. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Author: Taylor Wolfram
Volume 105, Number 4
Issue: April 2018

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This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series teen talk

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