Did you know Jesus promises that his followers will be persecuted? “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20). Now, who in their right mind would subscribe to that religion?
It doesn’t make sense, unless allegiance to Jesus is more important than anything—more important than pleasure, more important than being liked, more important than having things our way.
While you ponder that, here are 6 promises for peace during persecution. Jesus doesn’t expect you to go through this on your own, without his saving help. So here it is:
- Persecution always serves God and his saving purpose for you. “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Your pain has a label, written in God’s handwriting, filed in his heart, and he is using it for your good. You aren’t suffering for nothing.
- Persecution proves your faith. Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. So if you’re experiencing persecution, it’s a confirmation that your Christian faith is active and not parked in neutral safely sitting at the curb. “We kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way” (1 Thessalonians 3:4).
- God has the final word, not wicked people. “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6). Leave revenge to God and his perfect justice. Focus on persevering in the midst of injustice. God is taking notes.
- Suffer with someone. “Brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith … We pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:7-10). When you share your joy with someone, your joy is doubled! When you share sorrow or trouble with someone, it is cut in half.
- You are strong in the Lord. When you read these verses, notice how the Christian works of these believers is performed because God has arrived on the scene first. He has prepared them for the task. “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:3-5).
- Persecution praises Jesus. “We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). People notice. Enemies notice. Jesus notices.
Dear Jesus, persecution hurts. It is real. But it always serves your purpose, so give courage to Christians being persecuted today. When I am persecuted, make me able to stand strong in the faith, witness boldly, and glorify you so that others do too. Amen.
Meditate on the 6 promises above. Which of them will help you get through persecution, or could help someone else (send it to them)?