A heart that is full of gratitude to God is the attitude that is expected of us always in the midst of persecution. There are so many things to be thankful to God for while going through it.

The Lord has always been faithful, so true and so good, even when you’re not aware of what He is doing behind the scenes. He is in fact doing a lot of things that you’re not aware of, but a heart of thanksgiving will help you in getting more things done. He is THE GOD WHO IS MORE THAN ENOUGH.

If you have not learnt to be thankful to God before in the midst of fiery trials, then you have not really grasped the extent of everything that He has done for you. He has given you even the very air that you’re breathing daily while you’re going through it.

That’s something big enough to be thankful to Him for, because your very existence on this earth depends on Him.

Your life is in His hand and not in the hands of those who are persecuting you. Even the devil can’t touch your life in the midst of trials, because he knows that he needs the permission of God to be able to do it.

You are a Covenant child of God. Having a Covenant relationship with the Lord God makes a whole lot of difference to the hosts of Heaven, who are watching over you in the midst of your persecution.

You have divine protection from the destructions of the enemy that you do see happening to others every day. He had healed you. He has also given you good health and has lengthened your life on the earth (Psalms 91:16).

You do have plenty reasons for being thankful to God.

King David according to the scriptures had faced various forms of persecutions, for many years among his own people and outside of Israel, but in the midst of every persecution he never forgot to always thank God.

Even after ascending the throne of Israel, his own son ran him off the throne into the wilderness, but David was still thankful to God (2 Samuel 15).

As a result of this attitude before God, his reign as the King of Israel is still being regarded today as the golden era of Israel’s history. King David never forgot all that the Lord God had done to deliver and help him in the midst of persecutions.

Towards the end of his life, he had ascribed all the glory and honor to God for a life that was well lived.

He wrote:

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalms‬ ‭103:1-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

David wrote this Psalm on the basis of his own personal encounter with God. He was expressing thanksgiving to God for everything that he had went through in his life.

The preservation of his life from sicknesses and from the hands of his enemies, were some of the things that he was grateful to God for. He could do nothing more, but to bless the Lord for everything.

You can’t really bless the Lord if you’re not grateful to Him. A grateful attitude will always bless the Lord.

Rejoicing in it with a grateful heart.

The Lord has given you the opportunity with renewed strength to do more for His Kingdom, even in the midst of persecutions.

This is why the devil can never be a match to the people of faith. And he can never be, even though he thinks that he is. The Scriptures declared several times that he had been defeated (Revelation 12:11; 1 John 5:4-5).

That’s why you can rejoice at all times with a heart of thanksgiving to the Lord.

The Apostle James said:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NKJV

Troubles will always come no matter how hard you try to avoid or escape them. The devil does not like God’s people anyway.

You may try to get him off your back. But he is still going to come after you, because you do carry something that is dangerous to his false claim on the earth.

You are a bearer of the name of Jesus. Not only that, but you do also carry Jesus’ DNA in your physical body. When he sees you, all that he sees is Jesus.

That makes you dangerous to the wicked spirits of this world. The principalities and power of the rulers of darkness in the world do know who you are. They can see the handwriting of their defeat on the wall, with you walking and reigning in authority on this earth. They tremble whenever they see you.

As the Apostle Paul once said:

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭2:14-16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul gave thanks to God for the victory, that we do have everywhere we go with the fragrance of Christ Jesus in our lives.

Despite everything that the devil has done to stop you, thank God that you are still on the move with the aroma of Christ in your life. You are still putting the devil on the run and terrifying him.

The aroma of the blood of Jesus goes everywhere with you in victory over the devil. That’s something to be thankful to God for.

You are now beginning to find out that you do have every reason to thank God. The Lord has been faithful in protecting you from the enemy. Your life has become a terror to the devil. You have become untouchable by him, all because of the victory that Christ Jesus gave to you.

The enemy has failed completely and woefully over your life. For these reasons alone your thanksgiving to the Lord is worth it.

You can trouble your troubles during the persecution. 

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34‬:‭19‬-‭22‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Whatever weapon the enemy is trying to use in stealing your joy will fail. Never forget that you do have to vigorously confront him by choosing to thank God anyway.

Troubles are meant to come to every child of God. But it’s your reaction to them that will define your life’s destiny with them.

Persecutions are bond to come anyway, but the joy of the Lord in spite of them will make you unstoppable to your enemies (John 16:33).

And if you’re not facing any persecution in life, it basically means that there is nothing in your life that is troubling to the devil. He is not smelling the aroma of Christ in your life. He sees no fire of God in you.

He loves to see Christians living in this life as if they’re dead, cold and useless. He likes the believers in Christ who don’t have the fire of God in them.

The good news is that troubling times do not last forever. They are meant to only test your faith for a moment.

So, if the world does not hate you, it basically means that you belong to them. If you’re hated and facing persecution from the world, then you do have to be thankful to God for it.

This is because God is on your side, and He is always with you. That’s the most important thing about persecutions. The persecution itself puts God’s approval seal on you. You now belong to God.

Those troubles are meant to prepare you in becoming a better vessel to carry God’s glory. So be thankful to the Lord for the troubles of your life. You can always use them as your steppingstone into God’s greater glory.

If you’re saving the lost, healing the sick and casting out demons; the world will hate you. They don’t like the threat that you are posing to their false claim, on those lives that are being rescued.

Every life that has been saved, healed and delivered by you had been permanently snatched away from the hand of the devil.

And because the people of the world are under the devil’s sphere of influence, they will hate you for doing the works of Jesus. The devil will move them to hate and persecute you. That’s what he does always.

Jesus said:

“Just remember, when the unbelieving world hates you, they first hated me. If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine. So, remember what I taught you, that a servant isn’t superior to his master. And since they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. And if they obey my teachings, they will also obey yours.”
John‬ ‭15:18-20‬ ‭TPT‬‬

The world will trouble you and persecute you because, your Christian values does not align with their own values. That was why they hated and persecuted Jesus also.

And that’s why you definitely do need the Holy Spirit to be able to overcome the world. You can never confront this world’s evil with worldly wisdom. You need the wisdom of God, which only the Holy Spirit can give to you in overcoming it.

That’s why you need to be thankful to Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit to live in you. He said:

“However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].”
John‬ ‭16:7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

You will always need the Holy Spirit in the midst of persecution. And you’ll need Him more than ever before, in your interaction with the world around you.

He is the wisdom of God in your life. Your ability to fellowship with Him intimately, is crucial for you in being able to tap into God’s wisdom. He will strengthen you, counsel you, encourage you and teach you how to pray in the midst of a troubling world.

He will cause thanksgiving to flow from your heart, and then through your lips, even when you don’t feel like you can give thanks.

Let the Holy Spirit glorify Jesus in you. 

When Paul and Silas were locked up in jail at Philippi, they had wounds with pain all over them (Acts 16:33).

They had been beaten very badly before being locked up in jail, even though it was illegal for the authorities to had done what they did with them, since they were Roman citizens.

But Paul and Silas had chosen to face persecution, instead of invoking their citizenship’s rights. They were seeking the glorification of the name of Jesus, more than their own rights as Roman citizens.

Facing persecution was more important to them than being a Roman citizen. They would rather suffer as Christians, while trashing their rights as Roman citizens. They chose to suffer like common men, so that the life of Christ might be glorified in them. They chose to be crucified with Christ.

As Paul himself said in his letter to the Galatians:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”.
Galatians 2:20 NKJV

With so much pain all over them, they had decided not to give in to the devil in the midst of their suffering and persecution. They continued to testify about Jesus with songs while in jail. And everyone in the jailhouse were listening to their testimony about Jesus in songs.

The result was that God did exactly for them, what He had promised to do whenever we are testifying in this way, under the pressures from persecution.

The Bible said:

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.””
Acts‬ ‭16:25-28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul and Silas were never afraid of the persecution. It was not strange to them at all. They had experienced plenty of it before. And oftentimes they were eager to stir up trouble, even where it never existed before by healing the sick and casting out demons.

When you go about laying hands on the sick so as to get them healed and casting the demons out, then the religious spirit that’s holding people bond with sicknesses and diseases, within that community will be enraged against you.

Paul was accustomed to stirring up troubles, whenever he got into a community that was too quiet. He knew that the devil was always hiding behind the quietness within such communities. The devil likes to hide behind quietness, so as to conceal his real identity, especially in communities that are so full of idolatry.

This was his personal observation in the city of Athens:

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul saw demonic activities going on behind those idols in the city of Athens. He knew that the only way to expose them, was by publicly preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the city.

That was what he did to stir up trouble in troubling the devil in the city of Athens. The demons behind those idols came out against him. It all eventually ended well as he got the city saved, because with his declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ the devil was exposed.

In fact, the Jews at Thessaloniki (Greece) identified Paul and Silas with making troubles. What a badge of honor! It became the primary accusation against Paul and Silas everywhere they went.

The Bible says:

“When they couldn’t find them, they took Jason instead, along with some of the brothers in his house church and dragged them before the city council. Along the way they screamed out, “Those troublemakers who have turned the world upside down have come here to our city.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:6‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Paul and Silas were known to their world for making troubles with the preaching of the gospel. They had faced opposition with the declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in several cities across Europe. They had gone everywhere preaching the gospel in the demonstration of the power of the Kingdom of God.

From my personal experience as a missionary I had observed, how easy it is to evangelize communities, that has no religious root at all. The only thing that you have to deal with is the devil himself.

And it’s easier to deal directly with the devil, than dealing with religious and denominational demons. All that’s needed to be done with the devil, is to cast him out.

When you command the devil to leave, he will go away without any problem. This was what Paul did in communities like Athens as he evangelized them.

But in communities that do have some form of religious root, you have to deal with religious demons. Religious devils are hard to deal with, because they like to conceal their true identities behind their doctrines.

Just as the devil quoted scriptures in tempting Jesus in the wilderness, religious demons like to hide behind scriptures so as to operate among Christians.

Have you ever met people who will quote scriptures to you in an attempt to justify evil? This is what religious demons often do in Churches and communities where they are operating.

So, the best way to approach them is by the teaching of the gospel’s biblical truth that makes people free. You don’t argue with them. You only need to present them with what the Bible says.

You will then need to break down the wall of their religious traditional beliefs first of all with the declaration of the gospel truth, until the religious demons are exposed for you to be able deliver the captives.

This takes a lot of time and patience. But it’s what needs to be done to set religious people free.

You will be wasting so much time holding night vigils because of them. There is no point of holding prayer meetings with dead religious people.

It only gives them more opportunities to get better entrenched around you. And frankly speaking you don’t need them hanging around you too long. Otherwise the devil will start using them to bring you down.

All that you need mostly is sound Bible based teachings that will expose them. The devil hates the truth. And as long as you are persistent in presenting him with biblical truth, he will be forced to reveal himself.

An example will be to expose the religious lies that sicknesses and diseases are from God. Teaching biblical truth about healing will expose the lies of the devil about it. The devil is the author of all sicknesses and diseases. They are not from God. God is not making people sick. The devil is the one doing it.

That’s why I sometimes cringe when people are holding revival meetings, in communities where religious demons are entrenched.

A few days of meetings, conferences or seminars cannot get them out. It’s a waste of time and other resources, that can be very useful somewhere else.

They need the truth to be presented to them persistently, in the demonstration of the power of God’s Kingdom (John 8:31-32).

However, you will surely need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be able to evangelize communities like these while facing persecution. You need the Holy Spirit in dealing with religious devils. He alone knows the best way to handle them.

It’s however important to note that religious devils are never the same everywhere.

That’s why we don’t need to be looking for a way to escape persecution. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to do in every situation. He will reveal to you what is required of you in every situation.

He knows every situation that confronts you more than anyone else. He will always protect you, for as long as you are following His leadership, in the midst of the persecution (John 17:15).

There are many who are failing in the midst of their persecution, because they are not in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. They don’t even have any relationship with Him at all. It’s disastrous for a Christian to be going through persecution, without being filled with the Holy Spirit.

That’s why they are always panicking, wailing and crying while going through it; because they do recognize the void and emptiness in their spirit man, which only the Holy Spirit can fill up.

You don’t ever step out to preach the gospel in public, without the infilling experience and the power of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, you will be exposing yourself to the attacks of the devil, which he will use to embarrass you (Acts 19:14-16).

And you are supposed to be embarrassing the devil with miracles, signs and wonders. It should never be the other way around.

There are also those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, but who have not been committed to building up their faith in Him, so as to confront the persecution more effectively.

That’s why Jude said about them:

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,”
Jude‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When the faith of a believer in Christ is not being built up to confront persecution, you will always see the manifestation of the works of the flesh in them.

Such people will often resort to the mind and logics in confronting the persecution. You can’t confront the works of the flesh in the flesh. That’s why many have often failed during persecution, as the enemy gets his desire against them fulfilled.

The manifestation of the works of the flesh has become the weapon of persecution from the devil. He uses the fruit of the flesh in persecuting Christians (see Galatians 5:19-21).

That’s his strategy to make you react in the flesh during persecution. Don’t cave into his tricks.

But you can never be mistaken when you are taking your cues from the Holy Spirit, who lives and fellowships with you at all times. Your victory is guaranteed as you make the decision to obey Him, in doing as He directs, instructs and guides you in the midst of the persecution (John 16:13-14).

You will always come out on top by walking in union with Him. The Holy Spirit longs to work with you always. Learn to fellowship with Him, so that you can learn more from Him.

The testimony of Jesus must be kept intact with the demonstration of the power of the Kingdom of God. That’s something which will always put you on top of any persecution in overcoming it.

If you’re not saving the lost, healing the sick and delivering the captives; the devil will make sure that he keeps your testimony stale and eventually dead. He will make sure that you become lukewarm with your testimony about Jesus.

And when you have nothing to show with your testimony concerning Jesus, you do know that you’re in trouble (Revelation 3:16).

Some people have lost their vision for spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the end of the earth, because they have allowed the devil to derail their attention, away from their testimony about Jesus, into other things that has nothing to do with the preaching of the gospel. The devil has succeeded in bewitching them and their testimonies (Galatians 3:1-3).

When the ability of the believers in Christ to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, has been relegated to the background, the devil steals the victory from them which Jesus had given to them.

We don’t ever compromise our testimony concerning Jesus for anything in this world. Jesus paid a huge price for us to have it. The devil needs to be on the run at all times whenever he sees us.

And if you don’t bend, you will never bow. If you do not compromise, you will be victorious.

And if you’re seeing the devil, come after you with diverse forms of persecution, don’t ever retreat. You go after him just as David went after Goliath. You are a devil slayer!

So, rejoice and be thankful to the Lord for your victory in Christ Jesus is guaranteed.

1 Comment
  1. Mara-Lee 3 years ago

    The gift of life is the most important gift given to us by GOD. And everyday we should always be thankful.

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