posted Jun 23, 2012, 1:58 PM by David Gerhart   [ updated Jun 23, 2012, 1:58 PM ]
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."  Mat. 5:10.

"... but deliver us from the evil one." Mat. 6:13

Trials should not be confused with persecution.  

Jesus said: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Trials are difficulty that emerge from living our lives, most particularly the trouble that comes from straying off the narrow Christian path.

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Mat 7:14

Trials therefore generally revolve around responsibilities -- either those we avoid, or those we wrongly assume.  They exist  to some extent,  as choices we make that lead us into worry and angst.  In this way trials exist purely within our personal experience in some fashion.  Our neighbors do not share our emotions.  This private experience weighs on each according to what kind of thinking they engage.  For instance the death of a loved one impacts individuals differently.  Health problems are often blamed on demonic influences, but this author finds such affliction unlikely if one is under Godly protection.  Not many are tested as Job was.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" Mat 6:34

Persecution is torment by / through others that arrives in our lives because we are working powerfully for the Lord in some capacity.  Persecution originates with an active enemy working against us, who is the "evil one."  He uses lies and distortion with the intent to blunt, thwart, silence, imprison or even kill Christians.

"You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them." 2Tim 3:10-11

But there is another type of persecution: A self-inflicted, unwarranted range of emotions usually revolving around guilt.  Again our enemy lies to us, suggesting in our thoughts notions that lead to our indulgence of pernicious malingering self-pity.  We persecute ourselves for failing to meet our own standards and goals.  We seek achievements and acquisitions that are measured against others, or relative to cultural status symbols.  College this, car that, house there, boat, vacation (fill in the blank.)  This is a misplaced sense of security.  

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Lu 12:33

Self persecution can also exist over spiritual matters.  But usually, this is a simple by-product of immaturity.  The mature Christian is able to forgive, even forgive themselves.

Christian persecution from with-out is managed by God to the benefit of His Kingdom.  Our internal experience is managed for us by the presence of the Holy Spirit and will result in our eventual sanctification.  In either case, our Heavenly Father delivers us from the evil one as we receive the salvation of Jesus by faith. 

Peace.  Harmony within and with out, but mostly within.  Now there is a goal worth pursuing!