Ever felt hurt, dejected or demotivated when people have persecuted you because you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? Take heart from the Bible – I too have. Let me begin with a portion of Scripture:
1 Peter 4:12-14 says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Think of the martyrs who have shed blood and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Be thankful that you are at least alive. And while you are alive, get equipped to not just preach the Gospel boldly, but also be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will give you the power to demonstrate the Kingdom. If you preach the Gospel with signs following, unsaved people will lose most (if not all) of their resistance to the message that you bring. It will be clear who reigns – Jesus Christ the risen!
People who persecute others can, at the most, kill – but not eliminate – the victim. The spirit of the born again Christian will personally go to Heaven at death. In fact, positionally, you are already in Heaven if you are born again. So any which way you take it, your persecutors cannot eliminate you. In my view, your safest bet to minimize persecution and maximize your impact for the Kingdom is to operate in the way that Jesus operated. And he not only preached the Gospel of the Kingdom – he also healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. Ask God to give you the power needed to do the same. According to the Bible, the key to getting filled with Holy Spirit is this, as stated in Ephesians 5:18-21…
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
When the religious people of Jesus’ day tried to attack him physically, he escaped from their midst every single time. He knew that the time had not yet come for him to be hung on the Cross. So, with the Holy Spirit’s ability, he could escape unhurt, untouched. If we keep renewing our minds to the Word of God – the Bible – and keep preaching with signs following (or at least attempting to do so in obedience to the Bible), we too will be able to avoid being persecuted more than God allows us to be.
According to a preacher that I respect, Bro. Curry Blake, as you develop the reputation of being a warrior for Christ, demons will trouble you less. They will look for a more opportune time. But every time, you can beat them. So brother/sister! Keep reading, studying, meditating and doing the Bible. There is nothing that comforts you more than Scripture. and there is nothing that gives you greater hope and strength. Above all, forgive those who persecute you. Encourage others by sharing your experiences overcoming persecution, in the comments section below, and offline too!