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Are You Ready to be Persecuted?

By Luke Hobbs
 
Are we willing to be persecuted for the things we believe? Specifically, are we willing to be persecuted for our belief in Christ?

I don't know about you, but I don't find myself just itching to be persecuted. Fact is, I'm not that eager at all to be persecuted. Yet according to Paul, we'll all be persecuted. In his second letter to Timothy, chapter three, verse twelve, he writes; "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Wow! What an eye-opener! That verse is pretty plain, isn't it?

But exactly what kind of persecution is this? It doesn't necessarily mean what Jesus talked about in Matthew 24, when He said the stuff about being delivered up before the synagogues and being ridiculed and beaten. But it does mean we will at least suffer if we want to live the way Christ wants us to live.

Let's face it; the Christian life is not always an easy one. Oh sure, the payoff is going to be more incredible than we can ever imagine. But in this life, God actually promises that we will suffer in Him.

Many Christians in churches around the globe are persecuted regularly. They are imprisoned and many times even killed for their faith. And yet, what I have noticed is that when Satan persecutes the Church, it merely grows stronger. Have you noticed that in Jesus' message to the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2, He delivers not one word of condemnation to that church? You see, when the Church is persecuted, it flourishes. However, compare this to the Laodicean church in the next chapter. They are materially rich -- much like many of the churches in America today. And yet does our Lord applaud them for that? No! In fact, He does not give them one word of commendation. Instead, He is so disgusted with them that He is about to spit them out of His mouth!

Let's face it: many times those Christians who are persecuted are actually living for Christ a lot more than we who have religious freedom are. We can learn a lesson from our brothers and sisters. Not only is persecution in some form inevitable, but also it helps us to grow in our relationship with the Lord.

So don't back away when the trials and tribulations come. God is only using them to ultimately strengthen you. As James says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are faced with trials and temptations, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance."