NASHVILLE, Tennessee (NRB) – Pastor Andrew Brunson spoke on remaining faithful amid suffering during the Great Commission Forum at the NRB 2020 Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, on February 25.
Brunson operated a house of prayer in Turkey for 23 years until he was falsely accused of terrorism in October 2016. Brunson spent nearly two years in Turkish prisons before being released in October 2018 following a worldwide prayer movement and significant political pressure from the U.S. government.
While visiting him in prison, Brunson’s mother told him, “Andrew, there’s a long line of people who have suffered for Jesus Christ. It’s a very long line, and it stretches back 2,000 years. And it’s now your turn to stand in that line.”
“I became aware of the line that stretched before me – the great cloud of witnesses,” Brunson said. “And I also became keenly aware that others were coming after me. And, accordingly, that I needed to leave them an example of faithful endurance. I had to stand in that line and endure.”
Brunson reminded the audience there is a price to following Jesus.
“There’s a price in other countries; we hear about that,” he said. “But, increasingly, I think there will be a price to be paid here [in America].
“We need to prepare ourselves. We need to make decisions now about our commitment to Jesus. Because otherwise, the natural tendency, when difficulty comes, is to fear. And when we’re afraid, the natural instinct is to run away, to compromise, to remove the reason for the opposition, the hostility toward us. And it is normal to be afraid when we face difficulties. I certainly had fear. The issue is: Will you stand in spite of your fear? Will you remain faithful?”
Brunson said the foundation of Christ followers has to be a love for God.
“Our tendency is not to grow in love for God. It is actually to diminish in love for God,” he said. “Love has to be nurtured. We have to be very intentional about loving God. Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. That means loving Him with everything I am and everything I have.”
Our love for God, Brunson said, is what fuels endurance and perseverance. It’s what makes us willing to undertake risk and hardship, to carry burdens.
“A lover will endure much more than a servant. A lover will go much further, is willing to suffer, whereas a servant may not be. And it’s been said that God has many servants, but He has few lovers. The heart attitude makes all the difference for enduring.”
It’s the pursuit of God’s heart that positions us to receive Gospel assignments from Him, Brunson said.
“He is worthy, and He is worth it. Dedicate yourself to a pursuit of God’s heart. This will lead to the Great Commission.”
By Michael Smith