The Blessing of Persecution

by | Feb 21, 2024

Dear friends,

In our journey through life, we often encounter moments that test the very fabric of our faith, moments where standing firm in our beliefs draws not applause, but rather, conflict. The Apostle Paul, who was not a stranger to suffering for the Gospel, offers us some insight into the nature of these trials in 2 Timothy 3:12: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." This statement reminds us that persecution is not an anomaly for the believer, but a guarantee for all who pursue godliness.

But why is this so? And how should we respond? The preaching of The Beatitudes by Jesus, provides us a shocking perspective. In Matthew 5:10-12 Christ says, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall 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." Here, Christ not only confirms that persecution is inevitable, but he also calls it a blessing and a reason to rejoice, because it aligns us with the struggles of the believers before us and provides us a great reward in heaven.

In practice, embracing persecution with faith means recognizing these moments are opportunities to demonstrate the strength and hope we have in Jesus. It gives us an opportunity to test our integrity and our love for others. While we proclaim to have the love of Christ, our response to adversity will truly reveal how alive Christ’s love is in us. This might look like responding with kindness to someone who mocks your faith, or actively supporting believers who are facing hardship because of their beliefs. It’s in these acts of steadfast love and unwavering faith that we shine the light of Christ the brightest.

Additionally, persecution serves to refine our faith, stripping away the dross of pride and leaving behind a purer, more resilient trust in God. As Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 1:6-7: "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." The trials we endure, then, are not simply hardships but are tools in God’s sovereign hand, reshaping us into the likeness of His Son.

Embracing persecution with faith does not mean we should seek out suffering or wear conflict and disagreement as a badge of honor. It is surely not so because Christ calls us to be all things to all people. Rather, it is about holding true to our hope in Christ, knowing that our current conflict is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. It’s about seeing beyond the immediate hurt to an eternal joy that no amount of persecution can deplete.

So dear friends, let us walk ahead in faith, not fearing the conflicts we face, but embracing them. In Christ, we are more than conquerors, and the promise of His presence and His kingdom is ours, both now and forevermore.

Topics: #Beliefs, #Endurance, #Faith, #Integrity, #Persecution, #Suffering, #Trials, #Trust