TO CHEW ON: "These things I have spoken to you that you should not be made to stumble." John 16:1
What "things" is Jesus referring to?
- That the world will hate them (John 15:18,19).
- That they will be persecuted (John 15:20).
- That they will be hated without a cause (John 15:25).
- That the Holy Spirit will be their Helper (John 15:26).
["Parakletos = called to one's side, intercessor, comforter, helper, advocate, counsellor ... The Holy Spirit leads believers to a greater apprehension of gospel truths. In addition to general help and guidance, He gives strength to endure the hostility of the world system" - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1472.]
We in North America have had it pretty good in the persecution department. In many cases our forefathers fled to Canada and the U.S. from religiously oppressive regimes for the reason that they wanted to live in place where they could worship according to their convictions. As a result for several generations the prevailing culture of North America has been sympathetic toward Christians.
But that's changing. Read the comments under pro-Christian articles in secular media and you will often see scorn, mockery, disdain, name-calling, even hatred for Christianity and Christians.
As Jesus warns here, let's not let that reaction cause us to stumble—in confusion, discouragement, fear, intimidation. Because:
- It's what we should expect - John 16:4.
- It's part of our inheritance - John 15:18,19.
- It proves whose we are - John 15:23.
Rather, let's claim the help of the Holy Spirit
- To remind us of Jesus' predictions about such treatment - John 14:26.
- To assure us that we belong to God's family - Romans 8:16.
- To tell us what to say - Mark 13:11; Luke 21:14,15.
- To give us boldness - Acts 4:29-31
PRAYER: Dear God, I don't like abuse, scorn, or ridicule. Please help me to have the spirit of Jesus under such treatment—of wisdom and Holy Spirit boldness. Prepare me now for what the future holds of negative reactions to Christ-followers. Amen.
The website Persecution.org monitors persecution of Christians around the world. A little snooping around on that site shows us that though persecution in North America happens, it occurs much less frequently than in many other countries.
You can read news about persecution of Christians throughout the world as you search for news by country.