“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
1 Peter 3:14
It’s rare to see Christian persecution in Western society these days, or at least that’s what most of us probably think. Certainly in America we don’t see the kind of persecution that the apostles and early church faced. However, I think that no matter where you are or what time you’re living in, if you’re a Christian (and I mean that you’re really living out a Christian faith) then you will face persecution.
As an example, there was a time in my life when I was very much so just a lukewarm Christian. I called myself a Christian, but I didn’t act like one. When I decided to get serious about my faith and to live according to the calling of Christ, a lot changed in my life. Most of it was good, but some of it was difficult. A lot of the friends that I had suddenly weren’t my friends anymore. If I wasn’t involving myself in the sinful things they partook in, they didn’t care much to spend time with me anymore. People said hateful things. People mocked my decisions and tried to turn me away from my faith.
Now none of this is all that bad, and I don’t say any of that as if it’s something to be proud of, but it’s a real example. When your life begins to reflect Christ, many of those who don’t live for him will take offense at it. Especially in our increasingly secular culture, being a Christian, not just nominally but in word and in deed, is increasingly unacceptable.
People may call you a bigot for not agreeing with their sin, they may say you’re judgmental, they may call you intolerant. In many cases, those things shouldn’t be ignored, because many “Christians” have become all of these things. But if you examine yourself and know that you’re in line with the Spirit, you can know that these things are simply the persecution of our modern time. Don’t be discouraged. When you’re persecuted for your faith, you are blessed. God is with you, and he will not leave you. Stand firm and fight the good fight.
Help me to live as you truly have called me to, not in a lukewarm, nominal way. Help me to radically dedicate my life to the gospel. When I face persecution, help me to be bold and be encouraged by your presence in my life.
In Jesus’ Name,