Between the riots, looting, and closed churches, many Christians are frightened about “battle.” I often get this surprised look on people’s faces when they see how outspoken I am since becoming a Christ-follower, after 20+ years as a devout Muslim. I know they are wondering why I am not afraid? Throughout my professional career, I survived being shot at on the streets of Damascus, the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon, the Tsunami in Southeast Asia, and direct confrontation with more than a few suspected terrorists. Yet, being “battle-tested” is not where I draw my strength. It is the Holy Spirit’s power within me that gives me the strength and courage I never experienced before salvation. Most importantly, that power is available to ALL those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Alongside strength and courage, I am learning that a warrior for Christ must have the fruit of the Spirit, namely forbearance and self-control. Sometimes, the Lord signals us to stay quiet and let the storm pass. This concept was entirely new to me. Before my salvation, I was the first to retaliate for an offense, real or perceived. Now, I am waiting for a prompting from the Holy Spirit of how to respond. In this season of social and political unrest, the ability to hold my tongue has been incredibly valuable. So many people are reacting to world events based on their trauma, myself included. The Lord is teaching me not to react out of emotions. He is showing me through prayer and reading His Word, the reality of my situation, and how to respond with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
With spiritual discernment, we can also determine who comes at us as an enemy and when its time to stand our ground. In Mathew 10, Jesus Christ said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” He warned us that we would face battles and hardships in our lives to prepare us, not scare us. We have many verses of the Bible that tell us how to protect ourselves when the enemy does come to attack. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds”. We learn to draw on the spirit realm for strength and defense in the battle against evil forces.
However, Christ also made it clear that physical trials may come to us as well. Starting with the disciples’ gruesome fate to the persecution of Christians today throughout China, Iran, and the Middle East. Jesus continues in Mathew:
For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
I often worry that the American Christians who have enjoyed being the majority for centuries are not prepared for persecution and hardship. Those of us from the Middle East or Africa have lived through bloody civil wars and lawlessness. Surviving persecution is a way of life. It is fascinating that the Lord in His infinite wisdom is calling so many of us into salvation for such a time as this. I strongly believe they will help strengthen the brethren through their experiences.
In my career, I listened to many potential terrorists who had one thing in common – how they described Christians. They would say Christians are “weak in spirit and discipline”, or “Christians don’t know what it means to die for God”. Now as a believer, I see how those words should NEVER be used to describe a follower of Christ!
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Hedieh Mirahmadi