2 Timothy 3:11-12 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
These are three cities that Paul visited on his first missionary journey. Suffering was a major part of all of Paul’s work and in Lystra he was stoned and left for dead. The Lord protected Paul from death so that he could continue giving the gospel. Suffering is a know part of Christian living. The less Christian influence on the cultural values of society, the greater the suffering will be for believers.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God leads His people and gives us great opportunities, but as we all know opposition accompanies opportunities. As our culture gets further away from our biblical foundations, we can expect societal persecution to increase. So how do believers respond to growing persecution and criticism? Be real with God about how you feel. Don’t try and sound spiritual in your prayers with the Lord and try and hide what’s really taking place in your mind and heart. He already knows what you are going through, and He wants you to simply be real with Him so that healing can take place. The greater the opposition, the more we need to depend on the Lord’s strength, wisdom, and direction.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The word “Blessed” means, to be on the right path. Persecution will accompany obedience to God, but the rewards are eternal blessings.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through these scriptures?