This week we’ve been talking about facing trouble and persecution as a follower of Jesus. Most overt persecution happens in other parts of the world. But I’m convinced that it’s going to be more and more common here in North America.
It’s a big deal. And we’re naïve to ignore it. And we’re super-naïve to think it won’t get even worse for our children and grandchildren.
So far we’ve discussed how we should expect to be different, how we should prepare to be persecuted, and how to respond if and when it happens.
Today, an assurance: You are not alone.
First, you have God’s word to guide you. Think of Psalm 119:42: “I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.”
Second, you have God’s Spirit to comfort you. As a Jesus-follower, God has given you this gift. In John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter four times.*
Third, you have God’s people to encourage you. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we read, “encourage one another and build each other up…” In Hebrews 10:25 Christians are reminded to meet together for the purpose of mutual encouragement. As a church, this is going to be one of our most important tasks in the years ahead.
Going through something difficult is easier when you know you’re not alone.
You have God’s word to guide you, God’s Spirit to comfort you, and God’s people to encourage you.
You are not alone.
By Matthew Ruttan
–“Up!” is published 5 days a week (Monday – Friday) and returns on October 21.
–* In John’s Gospel the Holy Spirit is called Comforter four times (Greek: Parakletos). It is a word that is also translated as Advocate, Counselor or Helper. See John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26; 16:7.
–Bible quotes from the NIV.