There is something I think we get wrong in living out this thing we call 'The Christian Life'. We are put on guilt trips for not having it as bad as persecuted Christians across the world or for not having been tested for our faith like our forefathers were. The thread of thought is that we are soft and that we don't know as much as they did of what it is like to be put through fire.
This is denial. Maybe a bit like Peter's denial. He didn't mean to deny Christ, it just happened. He didn't realize he was already in a battle. Just like we are. We are SO in a battle. And just maybe we aren't realizing we are already suffering because we claim the name of Jesus.
If someone can make you question your faith, your actions, your joy, then you my friend, are already in. You are being tested in your easy, plush, American life. You are put through the fire when you choose to love and forgive your spouse if he or she is unfaithful to you. Every time there is bickering in the local body of Christ that you belong to, there is a test happening. Watching a loved one struggle with drug addictions or other poor choices isn't fun or comfortable, it's painful. It requires prayer and dedication and being present in suffering.
If you are fostering or adopting, you are under fire. You know more than anyone what is in that child's history and makeup...you are the one struggling to believe you will see a redemption story in their future. If you are raising your own biological children, you are under fire. Hearing your kid tell one more lie is just... The End! Seeing those sibling push and shove and treat each other like little monkeys make you want to pull out your hair and run screaming for the woods. Alone. By yourself. Don't tell me this is easy or plush.
We lull ourselves into thinking we are not involved in any real battle because we can't see it, but it is real and it is there. Every time you feel threatened by someone who claims to love Jesus yet denies HE is the Way the Truth and the Life...You are feeling the suffering of our Lord. If you are scoffed at for believing in God as Creator of all things, you know what it means to be in chains with those claiming the name of Jesus.
I think our persecution is a silent one. Satan knows how to distract us by getting us to look at our holiness and our heritage as a kind of safety net. He gets us to be lured into 'righteous indignation'. We allow ourselves to feel anger at wrong interpretations of scripture. We hold our breath, afraid of when we or our children will be snatched.
In Acts it says this...
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
There is so much power in the name of Jesus.We have no reason to hold fear in our hearts for our children. The truth of God's Word speaks for itself. It is only powerless if we aren't rejoicing and admitting we are in this battle and that we are counted worthy.
If you are worried for the coming generations, teach them to study the Bible. Stop trying to pump them full of knowledge of what is wrong with our world today and about all the wrong doctrines one can learn. Teach them about The Way, The Truth and The Life. Pump them full of truth. But makes sure its God's truth more than yours. Remember you're pretty human, but God's truth will speak for itself.
I can't help but think of the stories we hear about the people that study what is counterfeit or real. They glean the most by studying the real thing, learning to recognize all its trademarks in order to distinguish whether something doesn't pass the test. This goes for money and diamonds and pearls. Make it your guideline for teaching your children 'Truth' and you are sure to be counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.