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How a Christian Should Deal With Evil Government Laws and Persecution - Part 2
By : FIKAYO ADEYEMO
Posted : 11 June, 2016
This is a five-part series on the subject of Christian Persecution. Although each post is designed to be self-contained and independent, it is advisable that the entire series is read as a unit. The following links will guide to all the posts:

Part 1: Remember that the Kingdom of God is not of the World
Part 2: Be Responsible Members of Your Immediate Secular Community
Part 3: Don't Lose Sight of the Christian Calling to Fulfill it
Part 4: Hearken Unto God Rather Than Man
Part 5: Be Prepared For Any Consequence

BE RESPONSIBLE MEMBERS OF YOUR IMMEDIATE SECULAR COMMUNITY

When faced with societal persecution especially the type championed by the government of the land, it is natural for us to tend toward carnal resistance. Yet, the counsel of God is for us to continue as responsible members of society. Our warfare must remain spiritual. God's will for us is not dependent on the uncertain behaviour of the secular society wherein He has placed us. This includes both the general geo-political society such as cities, states, countries, etc as well as special communities like workgroups and sundry associations.

While the primary and permanent citizenship of a Christian is the heavenly Zion, we, as sojourners here, none-the-less possess temporal (and hence temporary) citizenship of these various earthly societies. The expectation of God is for us to be good ambassadors here as representatives of our eternal city. The Bible gives us specific ways of going about this:

1. Pray For The Land

(Psalms 122: 6; Jeremiah 29: 7)

The Bible is clear that we are priests of God. It is not generally appreciated that a great deal of our priestly ministry is to be performed on our secular places of abode. I have come to realise that many Christians do not give any priority to praying for their cities and countries. Yet, our intercessory activities for them are precious in the sight of God. Think about it: if we do not pray for our nations, who else can? Who else will? Of course unbelievers may presume to pray to God concerning the country, but do they have access to the throne of grace? Can they pray in the Spirit and in truth?

If the city or country of our abode does not have peace, how can we have the required external peace to carry out our life assignment? Is it not often the case that the obnoxious evil laws targeted against us would not have happened to start with if we had harkened to the voice of the Lord to pray for our land? And now that the evil legislation has been promulgated and executed, our earnest and fervent prayer is all the more called for, especially for two goals: first to control the course of the current persecution and curtail it, and second, to avert future such evils.

2. Pray For The Government And Leaders

(Ezra 6: 10; 1 Timothy 2: 2)

This point is similar to the preceding one but not quite like it for it addresses specific individuals (and their offices) rather than the corporate society as a whole.This is a salient issue because many of us, when faced with unlikable and/or evil leaders try to scheme them out of our objects of intercession as we claim to be "praying for the land and not for the leader". But God does not give us such leave. We must pray for the land and for the leaders, even if we personally do not count them worthy of such ministry.

The question may then be raised, would God then desire that we uphold an evil regime via our prayers? Definitely not! The Lord only desires that we pray without ceasing that His will be performed concerning such leaders. We enter into various types of problems and confusion when we take it upon ourselves to dictate our personal wills to God and present it as prayer. Praying for leaders is essentially to keep committing their hearts into the hand of the Lord to be His instruments for the performance of His will in our land. Of course, this will involve praying for their physical, emotional and intellectual strength to be adequate for the job at hand. (Proverbs 21:1)

A grave error many Christians make is to take personal stand for or against the government of the land. This is ALWAYS wrong. We take our stand on God's specific instructions. We do not pray for leaders to defend or oppose his person or his actions. Our prayer must not be premised on our support (or opposition) to a leader in his socio-political or moral status. These are two very different issues which even prominent Church leaders confuse. A morally-bankrupt thieving tyrannical leader deserves our prayer just as much as a pious fair-minded progressive leader. The biblical commandment of God does not permit us to differentiate. Our responsibility to call out our leaders concerning their moral lapses and other evils does not absolve us from obeying the commandment to pray for them. Samuel never spared king Saul in any of his numerous missteps and misspeaks - yet he was his greatest intercessor in the privacy of his closet. I have no doubt that John the Baptist had a vigorous intercessory ministry on Herod while openly confronting his sins.

In all, it is the Holy Spirit, who alone knows the heart of the Father that can lead us to pray aright. We should never pray along a path He has not led. The corollary to this is that the Holy Spirit may in fact instruct us to stop praying concerning a particular leader! (1 Samuel 16: 1). Whatever the case, our responsibility is to ensure we follow the voice of God.

There is no denying the difficulty of praying for a leader while suffering under the evil laws promulgated by the same leader. But we must not let our pain dissolve our faith or curtail our pace of life and ministry. Just as Christ commanded us to pray for our enemies, let us receive grace from His face and not give way to hate in our hearts. God is the righteous Judge. He will recompense.

3. Release Prophetic Word Only As Revealed

One of the mysteries of intercessory ministry is that God often gives revelation to the intercessor concerning the person being prayed for and/or related issues. (1 Samuel 16: 1). Such divine word may spell warning, rebuke, judgement, curses, exhortation or blessing. Regardless of how the word comes, it should be declared without fear or favour. Nothing added, nothing subtracted. We must guard our hearts with all diligence and refrain from declaring our personal desires as the will of God. Such will be a sin before God. If God reveals judgement, it should be promptly and fully declared. Ditto for blessings. We should neither curse (invoking spiritual authority to harm contrary to God's will) nor declare "peace" when God has not said "peace".

Ours is a very priviledged relationship with the Father and the Son. Let us not harbour pain or despair to make us careless about our spiritual responsibilities.

4. Obey All Civil Laws As Unto God

(Romans 13: 1-7; 1 Peter 2: 13-15)

The very wording of these biblical verses (and others like them) make two things clear;

i. The commandment to obey governing authorities is premised on the overall Kingship of God.
ii. Our obedience to human government is not absolute or inviolable-but dependent on God's word.

All power belongs to God and He delegates it as He deems fit. Even when we are uncomfortable with the details and circumstances under which those in power acquired it, (e.g. electoral cheating, coup d’état, etc) our responsibility is to be obedient, trusting God. Human government is one of the means God has ordained to dispense common grace to humanity. In doing this, He spells out His purpose which include "to be a terror to evil doers but peacemakers to good doers". For this reason, He gives every civil government "the sword" to enforce its authority. He has also assigned certain priviledges to them as may pertain to each, which are taxes, customs, fear, and honour.

Now, since governments wield power as delegates of God, their legitimacy hangs on their being true to their divine "brief". The moment a government turns against God's counsel, it loses its moral and spiritual right to power. YET, since it was NOT us who handed power to him but God (forget the self-deceipt of 'democracy'). It is God's responsibility also to remove it from power.

We thus see the command for us to be "obedient" in proper light: It is not because of the government but because of God - and should continue only because of God, on account of His will. The conscience of the Christian must always be clear toward God concerning what is being obeyed. This point will be fully addressed under the post, "Obey God Whatever the Cost" later. Suffice it to say right here that we should neither obey ungodly laws nor give unto Caeser what does not pertain to Caeser.

5. Walk Decently And In Order

(1 Corinthians 14: 40)

Our day-to-day lives must continue to be characterized by righteousness and orderliness. We must do productive work in our communities, working with our brains and our hands. living honestly, honourably and responsibly. Special diligence should be exercised to see that the name of the Lord is not blasphemed on our account. Romans 13: 7 serves as a great foundation for this.

The fact that a Christian is suffering does not necessarily indicate persecution. Sometimes, our suffering is the due result of our wrong choices and deeds. If you are currently suffering, be sure it is not as an evil-doer. As the Scripture says,

"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evil-doer, or a busybody in other people's matters"
(1 Peter 4: 15)

But what if the government makes a righteous activity illegal - and it becomes a crime to do right? The next three posts will address different aspects of this all-too-common phenomenon.

- Don't Lose Sight of the Christian Calling to Fulfill it
- Hearken Unto God Rather Than Man
- Be Prepared For Any Consequence

God bless you.
(Don't forget to share your views in the Comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!)
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Romo
Thoroughly enjoyed this and greatly blessed
19th June 2016 5:55pm
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Ministry of Fikayo Adeyemo
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