Jesus said we would be persecuted just as he was (Matthew 16:21, John 15:20, Matthew 23:32, Luke 21:12). An indication of a true saint is that he/she is mistreated for God’s sake. If you want to join the kingdom of God, you’ll have to endure persecution.
The world treats the treasures of life (you, him, and his word) like trash; and the worthless things of the earth like gold (Luke 16:15); this is a truth we must accept and prepare ourselves for, but there’s a blessing in it because Jesus said:
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:10-12).
What is persecution? It is any harassment, mistreatment, disrespect for Christ’s or righteousness sake. Persecution is not punishment for breaking God’s laws.
When should we expect persecution?
- When you’re living right among sinners
- When you rebuke or correct people
- When you proclaim the truth of God’s word
Why do people persecute the saints?
Galatians 4:28-29 says, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so, it is now.”
- Satan hates God, and his children just the same. Since they can’t damage God, they seek to take out their wrath on his children.
- Persecution is designed to stop a believer from growing (Matthew 13:20).
What does persecution look like?
Persecution comes both spiritually and physically. Spiritual abuse must not be taken lightly. Physical abuse is usually the last resort when they can’t break you mentally. Persecution comes in these forms:
- mean emails and phone calls
- shunning at church, job, community
- false accusation
- rumors spread about you
- name calling
- character assassination
- deliberate misunderstanding
It’s important to understand that the enemy tries to trick us into believing we’re responsible for our mistreatment—that it’s our fault and not for the sake of Christ and his righteousness. If we can’t identify the source of our persecution, we can’t deal with it appropriately.
Who’s it coming from?
Persecution will come from any child of Satan. The LGBT community and atheists can be really nasty towards the saints. Persecution comes from family, friends, and colleagues. But it mostly comes from the religious people—especially professing Christians and Israelites.
Why is persecution necessary?
- It makes us stronger and mature (Romans 5:3, James 1:2-4).
- It draws us closer to God.
- It increases our longing for his kingdom.
How to deal with persecution:
- Know that they persecute Christ (Acts 9:4-5).
- Bless and don’t curse (Matthew 5:44).
- Rejoice, for you have a reward coming (Matthew 5:12).
- Know that God will bring justice.
- Go to God for healing.
- Put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- Rejoice, for you’re being matured.
- Flee when it gets too bad (Matthew 10:23).
For those who want to avoid persecution, Jesus said, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
If we lose our life for Christ, we’ll gain eternal life with him, but if we try to avoid persecution and spare our lives, we’ll be rejected by Christ and lose our souls in the lake of fire.