Have you ever been maltreated/mistreated? Have you ever faced hostility, oppression, abuse, victimization, torment or torture for some reason other than a wrong you did?
Have you ever been denied a job not because you were not qualified; lost a business deal even though you had everything in place; told to your face that you cannot rent an apartment even when you are clean and credit worthy; tormented and bullied just because someone felt they could; abused to the point of severe pain for no evil you have done?
Have you had to suffer any of the above or other kinds of maltreatment because of your faith?
In conclusion of our Beatitude series, the last one talks about persecution;
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Matthew 5:10-11 NKJV
To be persecuted means to be disowned, shunned, victimized, harassed, denied and all such evil, because of your faith in Jesus. Persecution could go from such non life threatening or soft forms to suddenly violent forms like torture, imprisonment, and death. We have heard of, read and seen some of these violent forms; where people are killed, tormented to death, imprisoned because of their faith in Jesus.
Persecution Is In The Package
It Is Promised For Every Believer
Do not think it strange when you suffer because of your faith in Christ. Every child of God must face some form of persecution. Those who commit to living holy on this earth must suffer in some way. Just by choosing to follow and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, we have set ourselves at odds with the world. It is like swimming against the tide, the waves surely be against you.
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:13 NKJV
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. Mark 10:29-30 NKJV
Note that we do not go looking for trouble so we can say we are being persecuted. It is only called persecution when you suffer for no wrong, but for standing for your faith.
Examples Of Persecution In The Bible
- Saul persecuted David. 1 Samuel 19:9-12
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were persecuted because they refused to worship the image of the king. Daniel 3
- Jezebel persecuted the prophets of the Lord. 1 Kings 18: 4,13
- Jeremiah was persecuted because he spoke the will of God in unfavourable circumstances. Jeremiah 1:19 ; Jeremiah 37-38
- Paul was persecuted. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13 ; 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 ; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
- Stephen was persecuted unto death for declaring God’s word. Acts 7
- Jesus was persecuted unto death because He spoke The Truth.
Our Reaction To Persecution
As believers, God expects certain responses from us when we face persecution.
- Stay Faithful
Many are my persecutors and my enemies, Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies. Psalm 119:157 NKJV
- Take Courage
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul… Matthew 10:28 NKJV
But none of these things move me… Acts 20:24 NKJV
- Do Not Be Ashamed
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 1 Peter 4:15-16 NKJV
- Take It Patiently
…But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 1 Peter 2:20 NKJV
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:12 NKJV
This last verse on the Sermon on The Beatitudes tells us how to respond to persecution. It tells us that if the Israelites, the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus was crucified, then we should be ready to be persecuted if we follow after their ways.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2 NKJV
No one ever wishes for persecution, but because we are in a dark world, we cannot but face persecution. Looking towards the gains that await us in eternity should give us courage, faith and the joy to stand when persecuted.
This is by no means easy, but when we commit to stand for and with Christ, He gives grace to go through persecution and win here, and in the life to come. God will honour all who suffered for Christ and His kingdom without wavering.
For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,[f] leaving us[g] an example, that you should follow His steps… 1 Peter 2:19-21 NKJV
I have faced some persecution in my short christian walk. I was denied some privileges I used to enjoy in my family because I committed to serve God with all I am and had, it was a very painful experience, one that brought a lot of physical suffering on me. I have been insulted and abused because of my faith too… I know you have your own share of persecution too.
We are fortunate to be alive because so many in our days and before have had to die because of their faith in Christ.
Let’s keep running this race no matter the storm, let’s keep our eyes on the Prize and trust The One who holds our hands and our lives, knowing that we are blessed when we are persecuted.
What are some of the ways you have been persecuted?
How did you handle persecution you faced?
Copyright© Ugochi Oritsejolomisan 2017