When we make the decision to follow Christ one of the most important things we need to realize is that we aren’t just going to start living a magically perfect life. We will still endure pain and suffering. We will still go through hard times. But most of all, we will be persecuted for our faith. In fact, we need to realize that we are actually in a war. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, powers, the world rulers of this darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” We are not in a war against the rest of humanity, but rather a spiritual battle. We must expect pain and suffering from these wars we will experience. Anyone who believes that living a life for Christ is going to be easy, is wrong.
2 Timothy 3:12 says: “Now in fact all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. We need to expect this kind of opposition in our lives because it is said in the Bible that it will happen. Persecution of believers is becoming more and more prevalent as time goes on. If we stand up for Christ, we will be opposed. But this persecution isn’t always something we have to look at as being a terrible thing that happens to us, rather it’s a part of life; and God knows it.
There are four things we can remember when facing persecution. The first is, “Opposition can make you more like Jesus”. Jesus was persecuted because He was doing things others didn’t “approve of”. He worshiped His Father and was the most compassionate, most kind person anyone had probably ever seen. If we are good, like Christ, then, even though going through opposition, we will be more Christ-like. “Evil always hates goodness”, John 3:19.
Secondly, “Opposition will test and deepen our faith”. Understanding that going through trials in this life will make us stronger is one of the hardest parts of being a Christian, but when it’s all said and done and you see that the Lord is faithful, as He says He is, your faith will be strengthened like no other. If you have opposition in your life then you have a growing faith.
Third, “Opposition will give you eternal rewards”. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life”. When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus during our times of suffering, we will be greatly rewarded!
Lastly, “Opposition brings glory to God”. We aren’t suffering for ourselves. We are suffering for Jesus’ name. When He sees that we are taking a stand for Him and allowing ourselves to go through such things, we are glorifying Him. To learn more about how suffering and glory are linked, check out our podcast: “Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering: Suffering, Persecution, and the Glory of Christ”!