When I was a kid we lived near the train tracks. On my way home from school, if I heard a train coming, I’d stop and place a penny on the train tracks. I had a collection of flattened pennies and nickels as a result. I remember walking home one day with my sister when we heard the train approaching. I reached in my pocket and pulled out all the pennies and nickels I had and placed them on the track. My sister who hadn’t seen this before was afraid I might derail the train. Of course, a few pennies and nickels are not anywhere close to enough to derail a two hundred ton locomotive.
The battle between the devil and God is a similar match up to the locomotive and pocket change. God has an advantage in the extreme. There is nothing the devil can do to upset God’s plan going forward. It’s sometimes difficult to see God’s victory when we witness acts of persecution carried out against Christians across the globe, but the victory is there. Keep in mind the real battle isn’t what we are seeing. The real battle is “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12).
Throughout our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, we may experience minor persecution by unbelievers who want to argue with us or simply treat us with disdain. When we respond to these encounters with love, the victory is ours. Even when it looks like the bad guy is winning, in the long run those who keep their eye on Jesus will overcome.
In chapter twelve of the Book of Acts, king Herod is feeling that his power is being threatened by the growing Christian population and he decides to clamp down on them. He begins by having James the brother of John put to death and then captures Peter, locking him in prison, fully intending to execute him as well. Fortunately for Peter, God is on his side and sends an angel to miraculously free him from his prison cell and send him on his way. This doesn’t go well for the guards who are executed in Peter’s place. And soon after this incident, King Herod is also struck down by an angel and apparently eaten by worms from the inside out (Acts 12:23).
Persecution of the church will always exist, however there is nothing the enemy can do to slow God’s plan. God’s love is like a freight train.
“But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.” Acts 12:24 (NIV)
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