As I was praying this morning, I remembered and was led to pray for Christians up North in Nigeria, the Chinese far in the Southeast and all Brothers and Sisters in the Lord who are facing persecution for Christ’s sake; especially having seen what the Christians in China are going through presently.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” — 1 Peter 4:12-16 NIV
As I prayed for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I was reminded from the above verses that to suffer for Christ’s namesake shouldn’t come as a surprise because He suffered. I was consoled by the truth that bearing the name “Christian” is praise worthy and that God’s Spirit of Glory and God Himself rests on us.
The Holy Spirit laid in my heart to announce that we shouldn’t be dismayed when our buildings are destroyed at the expense of not having places of worship and even losing our lives while at it; or when we’re prevented by a virus from gathering to worship God in our churches and instead mandated to wear masks in order to gain access into other places — that “conveniently” aren’t places of worship — because it benefits the pockets of some in dwindling economies; or in the case of Christians in China, when we are asked to pull down Christian symbols and replace them with images of communist leaders at the expense of their welfare benefits.
The Holy Spirit says that we shouldn’t be dismayed because buildings and symbols are just that, buildings and symbols. And that even if we lose our lives by virtue of being Christians, our Spirits can not die. He says that just as Christ transcends cross symbols and buildings, we as Christians transcend our physical bodies. God has left the physical building and now resides in our Spiritual temples, in our hearts.
The Holy Spirit says to remind us that we are Spirit and announce that we are importantly called to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
“From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “You must be a prophet! So tell me this: Why do our fathers worship God here on this nearby mountain, but your people teach that Jerusalem is the place where we must worship. Which is right?” Jesus responded, “Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart. Your people don’t really know the One they worship. We Jews worship out of our experience, for it’s from the Jews that salvation is made available.” — John 4:19-24 TPT