I am encouraged that you are willing to suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 states, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” The Lord Jesus forewarned us of this in John 15:20, “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” So, we are to EXPECT PERSECUTION. This knowledge alone should serve to strengthen us, for Satan would have us think that something must be wrong if we’re being persecuted and that perhaps God doesn’t love us, but the Word assures us that WE WILL BE PERSECUTED. Persecution is a sign that we are living righteous lives that are pleasing to God.

Three of the most comforting verses regarding persecution are Matthew 5:10-12, “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.” The Lord calls us “blessed” when we experience persecution and tells us to “rejoice.” How can we by “happy” and “rejoice” if we are hated by men who speak evil of us? First of all, when we suffer “for righteousness sake,” which means we are standing up “for what is morally right,” we are promised “the kingdom of heaven.” 2 Timothy 2:12 says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” This is the day for suffering, but the day is coming when Christ will set up His glorious kingdom and WE WILL REIGN WITH HIM! This blessed promise should strengthen our faith and cause us to be “happy.” Then the Lord Jesus spoke of us suffering “for my sake,” which refers to men hating us because we are associated with Christ and are actually speaking His Name as we witness to men of their need of Christ. At those times let us take heart, for we are told, “great is your reward in heaven.”

There is another way the Lord can strengthen us spiritually when we are persecuted. In Acts 5 we have the account of Peter and the other apostles being beaten and commanded to not speak in the name of Jesus. Their reaction to this is most precious, for in verse 41 we read, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for His name.” We had just mused on how we can rejoice in times of persecution because of future reward in heaven and a place in Christ’s kingdom, but here we learn that we can rejoice for being “counted worthy to suffer for His name.” It is a privilege to suffer for our blessed Lord, and to experience, in some small measure, the same persecution that the Lord Jesus suffered from the hands of wicked men. This is what Paul had in mind when he wrote the following words in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Himand the fellowship of His sufferings.” When you are persecuted for Christ’s name, think on this truth; we are having fellowship with our Lord and Savior in the same sufferings He went through when He walked this earth!

May the Lord indeed encourage you and strengthen you spiritually through the meditations from Scripture that we have had. Let me add one more passage for you to consider. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (NASB). (162.2) (DO)