In the first century of the Church's existence, the Roman government tortured, mocked, scourged, chained, and imprisoned Christians (Heb 11:35-36). Christians "were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword's point" (Heb 11:37). "They wandered about in deserts and on mountains, they dwelt in caves and in holes of the earth" (Heb 11:38). Because Christians had to hide in the wilderness, they had to eat whatever they could find and wear the "skins of sheep or goats" (Heb 11:37).
Why do so many governments and cultures so viciously persecute Christians and kill them? Christians do not advocate a violent overthrow of the government. We aspire "to remain at peace and attend to" our "own affairs" (1 Thes 4:11). We respect and pray for emperors, presidents, and public officials (1 Pt 2:17; 1 Tm 2:1-2). Why then are Christians such a threat to "the powers that be"?
The Lord commands us to love Him with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength (Lk 10:27). The Lord has given Himself totally to us, and He insists that we reciprocate and give ourselves totally to Him. In hateful imitation of and competition with God, Satan wants to force us to buy into his own totalitarian system. Satan co-opts governments and cultures to form totalitarian dictatorships and to persecute all who do not totally comply with the party line. We Christians have totally given ourselves to the Lord and do not totally align ourselves with anyone or anything else. Thus, we are persecuted by demonic, totalitarian forces.
Preserve your freedom — by freely giving all to the Lord.