Have you ever been persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ? The dictionary defines it this way—
(1) To pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religion, race, or beliefs; harass persistently; (2) To annoy or trouble persistently.
I think we in the west don’t truly understand persecution, but certainly there have been times when people are harassing us or troubling us because of our faith in God.
If you are being persecuted, that is cause for rejoicing!
Check out these passages from the Apostle Peter and from Jesus, and then take a look at the flowchart below—
But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (1 Peter 3:14-17)
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. (Jesus in Matthew 5:11-12)
(Click the picture for a larger view.)
Whether you are being persecuted or not, rejoice! and remember to pray for your fellow brothers and sister in Christ who are also being persecuted (Hebrews 13:3).
February 13, 2013 at 10:40 am
“The deep wounds of righteous suffering are not to be confused with the surface scratches that result from our own folly, stubbornness, and flesh. All too often we lick our scratches in self-pity, scratches we earned because of our own poor choices. …If we are to suffer, let it be because of Jesus and the advance of His gospel. No suffering is too bitter if it is for His sake. Righteous suffering always leads to the character of Jesus being stamped deeply on ours. The joy of righteous suffering is that the hurt produces the union of our heart and mind and will and emotion to His. Suffering for being stupid just hurts.” —Dick Brogden