REJOICE WHEN YOU SUFFER PERSECUTIONFrom The Heart
Publish date: 08/15/2010
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 1 Peter 4:12-14 NKJV
If you are a child of God, submitted to the Spirit, and a doer of the Word of God, you WILL be persecuted for it. REJOICE because you are BLESSED! Reacting in anger, against persecution or opposition, is an indicator that you are not submitted to the Father and you are operating in the flesh, not the Spirit. Fighting back accomplishes nothing – you hurt the devil more by getting people saved, healed and delivered!
In 1 Timothy 4:10, Paul encourages Timothy (and us) to continue to press into the Word, into purity and into God’s will for our lives, because when your hope and trust is fixed on the living God – knowing Him as your Savior, Preserver, Maintainer, and Deliverer – then you are willing and strengthened to continue, despite the pressure to give up before the task is completed. In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Paul says that the servant of the Lord must be patient, forbearing and willing to suffer wrong in order to continue to preach the Gospel, which has the power to open their eyes to the Truth, so that they come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil. Never just see people doing things – see that it is the devil behind the persecution, because he wants to continue to enslave people. See people as God sees them – God loves them; Jesus died for each and every one of them! You are just the messenger, bringing life and hope to the lost and dying. Don’t fail, by giving up, just because you see only with your natural eyes. See the big picture with your spiritual eyes.
1 Peter 4:16 says that if you are ill-treated and suffer as a Christian, that you should give glory that you are counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ mighty Name! In Acts 5:41-42 the Church rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer persecution for the sake of His Name and, in spite of the threats, they continued to do exactly what they had been doing – walking in the love of God; preaching, proclaiming and demonstrating the Gospel. Persecution should not result in any other reaction from you than to humble yourself even further and give more responsibility for your life to the Father. Just commit, and continue to commit, your soul – your life – into His hands, because He will NEVER fail you (1 Peter 4:19).
Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life. 26 He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward (recompense). Hebrews 11:25-26 AMP
And what shall I say further? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 Who by [the help of] faith subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, 34 Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts. 35 [Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. 36 Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated – 38 [Men] of whom the world was not worthy – roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth. 39 And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, 40 Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them]. Hebrews 11:32-40 AMP
Moses and all these great people mentioned above did only this: they despised the shame and the temporary pain of persecutions, suffering and death, for the joy of the rewards of faithfulness that were before them in the presence of their God. The world was indeed not worthy of them! At the end of your life, could your name be added to this list or will you disappear into the obscurity caused by your weakness and fear?
1 Peter 1:5-8 says that you are being guarded – garrisoned – by God’s power through your faith in Him, so you should be exceedingly glad for this reason: that though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, the genuineness of your faith is being tested and as you pass the test, your rewards are piled up waiting for you for the day you finally stand before Jesus’ throne. So continue to rejoice with inexpressible, glorious, and triumphant heavenly joy! So do not fear suffering or persecution for the Gospel’s sake; be strong in faith; be loyally faithful, even unto death (Revelation 2:10). You will receive the Crown of Life handed out by none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself!