Dedicated Christians always have and always will suffer some form of persecution. That doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it? The persecution may be so severe that death will be the end result. Such was the case with the Lord Jesus, most of the apostles, and many others down through history. In most cases, however, the persecution takes a milder, more subtle form, such as being excluded from certain groups or being talked about in a negative manner.
In 1 Peter 4:12-19, we are told that any persecution that comes because of our love for Christ is a badge of honor. These verses say that we should expect persecution, and when it comes, we should rejoice in it. Why rejoice? Four reasons are shown in these verses: 1) fellowship, or special identification with Christ; 2) knowledge that Christ will transform it into future glory; 3) the opening of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be especially operative on our life; 4) effective ministry toward the unsaved onlookers. There is also a caution, that we need to make sure we are not being persecuted for the wrong reason, for something we have brought on ourselves by sinful actions, rather than godly actions. The passage ends by instructing us to commit ourselves to God, as to a Faithful Creator. This commitment is not a one time action, but a constant attitude. And, God is faithful, and He is our creator. He made us with a plan and purpose, and He has already decreed that those plans will be perfectly carried out in us, and His faithfulness assures us it will happen.
Why is Christianity so persecuted? A couple of reasons come to mind: 1) the world sees Christians as being narrow and intolerant, and the truth is we are. We are because God’s word, the Bible, reveals to us that there is only one way that one might be saved, and that is through faith in Christ. Most other religions are not nearly so specific in their doctrine for whatever comes after this life, but Jesus, who said, “Whosoever will, let him come unto Me and take of the water of life freely,” also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me.” 2) Christians are duty bound to be evangelistic. The world of unbelievers see Christians as people who try to impose our beliefs on others. We are! Our Great Commission, as we call it, is the words of Jesus, just before He ascended back to heaven, after being raised from the dead, “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”
I do not suggest that you go looking to be persecuted today, but I pray that you will be, and I pray that I will be. That sounds a little bit weird, I know, but the Bible tells us that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.