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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“’They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you.’ This is the Lord’s declaration."—Jeremiah 1:19 (HCSB)
Captain America has always been one of my favorite heroes. He understands the struggle of the little guy because he was the little guy! And even as the little guy with the big heart, Steve Rogers wasn’t afraid to stand up to bullies. An example of this is found in Captain America: The First Avenger. Here, Steve stands up to a bully and gets pummeled for his trouble . . . yet he keeps getting up. The man asks, “You just don't know when to give up, do ya?” To this, Cap says, “I could do this all day.”
Today’s verse reminds me of Captain America’s perseverant spirit. In this passage, we’re told our persecutors can never prevail against us. Why? Because He who saved the Israelites from Egypt, delivered Goliath into David’s hands, and toppled the walls of Jericho is with us! And as David said, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6 ESV).
As disciples, we must expect the world is going to bring the fight. Persecution is part of the job description. Jesus made this very clear (Matthew 24:9; John 15:18–21). And knowing this, the apostles followed Him and never looked back! They suffered torture, persecution, and death for their faith, and yet they still made statements like, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2 ESV), “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6 NIV), and “We also glory in our sufferings” (Romans 5:3 NIV).
And here’s why they could make these claims: Because it will “result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7 NIV) and because “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:3–5 NIV). Most importantly, they can make these claims because “he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:14 ESV). So even if we die, we live!
The persecution will come, friends. Even now, being a Christian is becoming increasingly dangerous around the world. But like Cap, we can say, “I could do this all day,” because our Christ has said, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
DIG: Do word studies on trials, persecution, and suffering in the New Testament.
DISCOVER: What do all these verses have in common? How did Jesus respond and instruct us to respond? How did the apostles respond? How do you respond?
DISPLAY: If you’re going through any kind of persecution in this season of your life—maybe a coworker, neighbor, teacher, or classmate who hates Christians, maybe a bully or abuser, maybe just the overall attitude the world has towards Christ-followers nowadays—write this down and carry it with you: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NIV). Meditate on those words and recall them when persecution arises. Know the Lord is with you and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Know that great is your reward in heaven. Know that He is building you up as others try to tear you down. And what God builds man can never destroy!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.