For more than 30 years I have preached that we must prepare Christians in India to face persecution for their faith. Finally, those days have begun.

I want to offer FOUR commands of our Lord as advice for these days:

1. 'Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves' (Matt.10:16).

We must not be foolish in our witnessing. The day for public preaching on the streets in India and for house-to-house evangelism in India may be slowly getting over. We have to be more wise in our witnessing from now on. Our lives must speak for Christ now, where we live and where we work. We must make it clear when we witness that we are speaking about a Person - Jesus Christ - and NOT about a religion. Jesus will draw people to Himself, when He is lifted up (John 12:32).

We must also be careful to discern spies who seek to speak with us, pretending to be very interested in Christainity, when their real motive may be to accuse us of some word we use in order to take us to court for 'forcibly trying to convert them'.

So we must be wise and loving as Jesus was :
(a) 'Jesus did not entrust Himself to some people, because He knew what was IN them' (John 2:23-25). Discern everyone.

(b) 'Jesus was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews there were seeking to kill Him' (John 7:1). Avoid unnecessary danger.

(c) 'Pray for those who persecute you' (Matt.5:44). Be good - and don't become evil because others are evil.

2. 'Live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Matt 4:4).

Perhaps the most important requirement for this time is 'to be sensitive to the word that God is speaking to our hearts'. We must develop the habit of a listening attitude to God throughout the day. The word we hear from God must then be BELIEVED and OBEYED. Otherwise it has no value. So let us read the Bible more (especially the New Testament) - for only thus will we be able to discern God's voice. And then we must 'trust and obey'.

3. 'Love one another as I have loved you. All men will know you are My disciples, when you love one another' (John 13:34,35).

Now is the time - in our home and in our church - to stop all judging of one another, all backbiting against one another, all quarreling with each other, and all suspicion of one another (discernment is a Divine quality; suspicion is a Satanic quality). Now is the time to concentrate on fighting sin and Satan in our lives. Now is the time to actively pursue loving our marriage partners and loving our fellow-believers.

4. 'In the world you WILL HAVE tribuation. But be bold. I have overcome the world' (John 16:33).

God is on the throne and He will never forsake His own. Satan was defeated 2000 years ago. We are the apple of God's eye, and so He will be a wall of fire around us (Zech.2:5,8). No weapon formed against us will ever prosper (Isa. 54:17). So 'be content with what you have, for God Himself has said, 'I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.' So that we may BOLDLY say, 'THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME ?''. Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you and imitate their faith.' (Heb.13:5-7).

Let us also pray, 'Come soon, Lord Jesus' (Rev.22:20).

Zac Poonen