“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12
Are you suffering for the sake of Christ? Do people put you down, invent lies about you, mock you, or simply avoid you because you’re a Christian? Does it hurt you to be treated in this manner unjustly? Remember that our Lord Jesus was treated the same way. He said, “They hate me without a cause” (John 15:25).
Instead of getting discouraged or feeling wounded about it, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing this, that the trying of your faith produces patience (James 1:2-3). Those who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 2:12).
Persecution is the lot of every devoted believer.
Jesus said that our reward will be great: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. “ – Matthew 5:10-12
Do not think it strange when you are being persecuted without a legitimate cause. Those who uphold God’s standard of truth, justice and purity and refuse to compromise with this present evil world will undergo persecution in one form or another.
The first reason is that you are a threat to Satan and his demonic kingdom of darkness. Your Christian witness is a light that exposes his evil purposes and convicts those the devil controls.
Secondly, God permits persecution to make you stronger and further develop your faith and character. Persecution is also evidence that you have a strong anointing and presence upon your life. It is a high and holy calling to be chosen of God. The devil knows this and will fight you every which way he can in order to keep you from fulfilling your destiny in Christ.
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you, for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you…” – 1 Peter 4:14.
Be certain, warns the apostle Peter, that you are not suffering because of your own wrongdoing or as a gossip or a busybody or a thief or an evil doer and call it “religious persecution” (1 Peter 4:15). But if any man suffers because of his good Christian witness, let him rejoice and not be discouraged; let him glorify God that has counted you worthy of being a partaker in Christ’s sufferings.
Although trials and persecutions may be emotionally and even physically painful for the moment, remember to take comfort that we are suffering because of our loyalty and faithfulness to our Lord and Savior. It is a sign of the genuineness of our devotion and the great reward that awaits us when Christ returns.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you…The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you…” – John 15:19-20.
True followers of Christ will suffer persecution from those who belong to Satan’s world because we are fundamentally different than they are, and at spiritual odds with the world. Jesus admonishes us to rejoice that we are “not of the world” and have “come out of the world.”
- Pastor Luis Yosefus