1 Corinthians 12:26 says, "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
I'm not convinced that my persecution must look the same as those that live in places where their government and society has been inundated with the teachings of Hindu, Buddhism, or other forms of Anti-Christian schools of thought and belief. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 describes the Church as one body with many parts. He uses this to to unite the Church for the good of the Kingdom. But I'm not sure that we have caught this whole deal very well.
In his book Radical, David Platt begins to portray the underground church and their hunger for Scripture, worship and their equally contrasting restriction to worship freely in the open. A number of times, I have heard preachers and teachers use this exact situation to tell me that in comparison to them, I face hardly any persecution and in light of that, I should do what I can to live my faith out more so that some how I can conjure up that type of persecution against myself. Don't get me wrong, I desire to have the same devotion to prayer and Scripture that my brothers and sisters in the underground Church do and perhaps that is the point of David Platt. I certainly wish to believe so. However, there is something that just doesn't seem right in this situation.
As I read Scripture, consider my depravity and try to integrate Grace into my understanding of the Word, I am not convinced that my life is to look like that of anyone else in the world, specifically. My reflection of Grace will look entirely different than your reflection and the reflection of Justin Bieber. Yet, that is what it is supposed to be; a reflection of Grace. Do I desire to reflect that Grace back to God in the form of desire and devotion? Absolutely. Do I desire to see persecution in my life so that I might suffer with Christ? Hard to say yes, but the right answer here is, absolutely. Do I desire to see the plot of my brothers and sisters in the underground Church changed for what I might describe as better? Absolutely not if God doesn't desire it.
1 Corinthians 12:22-25 talks about the ways that God has ordered the Body. He ordered it. He put us in the place that we are and has given us everything we need to pursue Him in the ways that He intended from the start. Do I wish that my brothers and sisters didn't have to suffer? With all that is with in me, I wish that they could experience the "freedom" that I do, to worship however I choose in this country. But would they want that? Or would they fall into the same apathy that so many of us fall into when it comes to our relationship with Christ? Would they laugh at how easy it is to abandon the Bible when we have no one telling us that we can't have it anymore; that we can read it whenever and where ever we want?
It could come off that I hope to see people suffer through this post. That is not my intention. My desire is to suffer with them, to rejoice with them; to pray for them and to know that they are praying for me. I simply do not believe that God wants to guilt us into a deeper devotion for Him. He wants us to desire a deeper relationship with Him because of a continually mounting price that He paid in full at the cross.
I'm praying for my brothers and sisters today.
Let us all pursue the mission of the Kingdom; to know Him and reflect Him to the World.