Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
Psalm 119: 161
The part about being persecuted by princes may or may not be literally true for me or for you. However, in a way, it is a fact of life for everyone. We live in a world where government, rule of law, and the princes of our modern society are acting in a manner and making decrees that are clearly in violation of God’s stated will. As people who believe in Christ and who seek to follow Him fully, we will run head-long into conflict with those who are in authority. There seems to be little prospect of staying true to God’s call to righteousness and to justice and not disagree with some of the regulations and laws of our times.
It is as if the air that we breathe has been saturated with an attitude of dismissal and doubt when it comes to respect for God. Both princes and people on the street are dismissing God and His word as irrelevant or proclaiming His truth to be misunderstood and in need of reinterpretation to fit the needs of the modern culture. So, this brings me to consideration of the point behind persecution. For the most part it is intended to diminish and to defeat people. Persecution in many forms is used to gain a position of superior strength over others. Its intent is to crush the spirit and to defeat heart, mind and soul of its victim. Satan is the author of this prevalent evil in our world.
Yet, according to God’s word and the testimony of generations of followers of Christ, persecution brings us closer to our God. Christ was persecuted to the fullest extent possible for the sake of our salvation. He endured a singularly causeless form of persecution and the resultant pain and anguish so that we would not be required to dwell in this life and in all of eternity in the deepest form of pain possible. That is, separated from God. Now, my heart can receive any direct or indirect forms of the persecution that society may impose, and I can stand strong in the strength of Christ, for He has claimed me out of the oppressive bondage of this world and the Holy Spirit continually speaks truth, love, justice, and righteousness to my heart.