Encouragement to the Downtrodden, Afflicted, Oppressed and Persecuted in Christ:Beloved brother or sister in Christ, life is most certainly hard, particularly for the Christian, and I sympathize with you, as one having experienced much hardship myself. I hope my words now—really God’s Words—will be of great comfort to you, and help strengthen you. I most certainly will pray for you, and continuously do so, as one belonging to the Body of Christ.
Keep always in your remembrance Matthew 5:3, 4, 6, 9, & 10: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. … Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. … Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Know that we—as Christians, as God’s chosen people, as His elect—are indeed to be tried, “through the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10), in order “to refine [us] as silver is refined, and [to try us] as gold is tried” (Zechariah 13:9; Psalm 66:10). In 1 Peter 4:12 & 13, we are told, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” God says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind (Jeremiah 17:10)”, because, although He knows our outcome, He knows it precisely because He—who “is able to keep [us] from falling, and to present [us] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)”—is bringing this outcome of our sanctification to pass, is bringing His servants to the point of complete and proper dependency on and adoration for the God whom we are utterly dependent on regardless of what we think, and He proves that we are sincere by such tests of our commitment to Him in the face of hardship. 2 Timothy 3:12- “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
Remember always, as in 1 Peter 5:9-10, to “Resist him (the devil), standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And "after you have suffered for a little while",—(‘As for man, his days are like the grass—he blooms like a flower of the field; when the wind passes over, it vanishes, and its place remembers it no more,’ Psalm 103:15 & 16; and ‘you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,’ James 4:14)—yes: and "after [we] have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called [us] to His eternal glory in Christ, will HIMSELF restore [us], secure [us], strengthen [us[, and establish [us]" - 1 Peter 5:10.
We all, of ourselves, truly have no strength. Let no one convince you differently. I, myself, am a physically and emotionally strong man, (my trials have certainly strengthened me), but depending and thinking upon my own insufficient, ultimately exhaustible strength just gets in the way of God’s sufficient, inexhaustible omnipotence, and has the tendency of leading me, like any man, into handling things differently than God has advised and commanded us, because the notion of ‘MY STRENGTH’ is an illusion which we deceive ourselves into believing, and has its roots in the lie which the serpent convinced Eve of us being able “to be as God (Genesis 3:5)” . As Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 4:7 – “…And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” And, as God had Moses give instruction to His people, whom we are, (and which instruction is still the very spirit of the New Covenant in Christ), in Deuteronomy 8:17 & 18 – Don’t “say in thine heart, ‘My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth,…” Isaiah 40:29-31 – “He gives power to the weak, and, to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Remember what God said to us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 through 10 – “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”—and Paul’s response, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the POWER OF CHRIST may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I AM WEAK then am I strong.”
God tells us so frequently to “fear not”. Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Proverbs 12:25 – “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression…” because man’s spirit cannot sustain the constant weight of worry, and, like any strength under some great, unrelenting weight, (which weight all Christians have the privilege of surrendering to God, be that weight physical, mental, or emotional), our strength will finally collapse, and that weight will bring us down. The remedy for us Christians is in Philippians 4:6-8: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayers and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This has been to me personally the most satisfying help. I wish I had known of it earlier in my life, to spare me of so much torment over the afflictions I faced. But we must access this remedy, unsurprisingly, in faith, because “Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)…”—Hebrews 11:6. In Mark 9: 23-24, “Jesus said to [a man] (the father of an afflicted child, but speaking of course to all his servants having the ears to hear, both then and now), “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” If we struggle with such faith—(and so we all do, from time to time)—we, like this man, (as we are told in James 4:2), must ask for it from God, “who gives freely and without reproach…but let him ask in faith, with no doubting (James 1:5 & 6).”
Concerning demonic activity, know this, and have Faith, “These signs will follow all those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they happen to drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17 & 18).” “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).” Because “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).” And “no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn”, for “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord (Isaiah 54:17).” God and truth is on your side, if you believe Him: “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).” Seize hold of the power you have been given in Christ, and in no way resemble those who “have an outward form of godliness, but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5).” Be of good cheer, my beloved brother or sister!