How to Build a Faith That Will Withstand Any Persecution
I will close this book with a few words of hopeful wisdom to help you in case you are terrified of the future and wonder if you will be able to withstand the difficult days ahead. I do not claim in any way that I have a monopoly on how to build a solid Christian life, or some special secret to achieve rapid maturity, an oxymoron in itself. It would be impossible for you to have the same huge host of people build into your life that have built into mine. I’m very sorry for those of you who have had few, if any, people pour into your life by spending time with you, praying with and for you, and guiding your growth as a Christian. I have been hugely blessed in this regard. Because of that godly input over many years and forty-plus years of walking with the Lord, I have a few ideas on how to build an unshakeable faith. People often ask me if I have doubted my faith while serving the Lord abroad in overwhelmingly Muslim communities. My answer is always “No. Being the only Christian for miles around actually builds my faith stronger.” That is because I continually see the vivid contrast between the reality of Christianity and the Holy Spirit within us, and the deadness of religion, even one that calls for extremely high commitment. As I’ve said many times before in print and in person, ONLY the Holy Spirit can change a life, no one else. That’s the primary, on-the-ground difference between Christianity and every other faith out there. The longer you are among those other faiths, even as you find elements worthy of admiration in them, you will understand that none of them actually change the heart.
So let’s take a brief look at a few steps you can consider to build a faith that will remain true and strong, even if Islamists order you to forsake it. 1. Get Into a Small Group(s). There is absolutely no need to build a strong faith through your own effort, gutting out daily Bible reading, going to church whenever you can, and trying to pray for longer and longer amounts of time each day. The modern, Western thought that we can walk with Jesus but not follow any “organized religion” is wrongheaded. This type of Lone Ranger Christianity is nowhere to be found in God’s Word. It is a Western, individualistic interpretation of a faith that grew out of small groups, as we see all over the Book of Acts. I am saying clearly that you cannot grow the type of faith you will need in the End Times by watching sermons on television or online and staying in your own home with no regular contact with other Christians. The Church will never stand strong if it’s built on survivalists who move as far away from others as they can and practice an isolationist Christianity. You should not want to dive into body life simply because it is commanded. You should do it because it is enjoyable and a necessary part of your growth. We all need that sharpening from one another, as Proverbs 27:17 says, As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
The author of the book Arab Spring Christian Winter – Islam Unleashed on the Church and the World, Ralph Stice has spent many years living, working, and ministering in Muslim countries. His time in Turkey (seat of the former Ottoman Empire) has led him to the same conclusion as Joel Richardson author of The Mid East Beast – The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist.