In our persecution series so far we have discussed our perfect potentate. Jesus suffered first for the church because of the end result: that He may present His church spotless before the Father. We also discussed how we are a peculiar people. We are strangers and aliens here temporarily, waiting for our eternal home. Last week we looked at how we should have a peaceful personality. Such as those shown by our predecessors like Jesus, Stephen, Paul and Silas. Today, we will look at the positive perks of persecution.
Often times we think of our trials in a negative light. We focus on our hurt and our pain. Perhaps we react negatively and lash out in anger. However, there are good things that arise from persecutions. In this article we will look at several of those.
First of all, if we are persecuted, the Bible says that God counts us worthy of His kingdom. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy write in their second letter to Thessalonica that it is a plain indication of that fact:
“…therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.” 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5
What a blessing it is to be considered worthy to suffer for the kingdom of God. There is no greater cause for which to suffer.
Another perk is that we are blessed by persecution. Peter tells us that if you are reviled for the name of Christ then you are blessed. (1 Peter 4:14) He goes on to say why we are blessed. It is because the Spirit of glory and of God rest on you. James says we count those blessed who endured. He reminds us of how the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (James 5:11) His compassion and mercy are even more blessings.
Trials often give us endurance. Just as an athlete in training goes through pain and agony, yet the result is more endurance. Because they have gone through the training, they gain the benefit of being able to endure a longer race. So too the Christian, when going through persecutions or trials, gains patience or endurance for the next trial. James tells us this:
“Count it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Suffering also teaches us obedience. About Jesus, scripture tells us that He leaned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) Obedience brings out blessings. When a child obeys, he/she is praised for doing well. God will reward us for our obedience during trials also. We all would love to hear those wonderful words, “Well done, good and faithful slave…” (Matthew 25:21)
Persecution also brings about growth. In Acts, Paul persecuted the church causing them to scatter. This migration caused growth in the church because the people spread out to different people, teaching them the gospel. Had they stayed in Jerusalem, church growth would have been much smaller. In Philippians, Paul said that his imprisonment had caused more brethren to speak the gospel with more courage. The Bible says that they trusted in the Lord to speak without fear. In both these situations, the church grew as a result of persecutions.
Whenever we face persecutions, let us keep in mind the positive perks that come with it. We under go trials because God considers us worthy. We are blessed when we are persecuted and endure. Patience is a byproduct of suffering, allowing us to be strong during further trials. Learning obedience can also come through suffering. Finally, the church can grow through courageously spreading the gospel.
So far we have looked at four points to ponder about persecution: our perfect potentate, we are a peculiar people, a peaceful personality, and positive perks. I hope you will find our next lesson on praise presented helpful in your trials.
By Dawn Pasley
Dawn Pasley has been married to her college sweetheart, James, for more than 21 years. They attend Fraley’s Chapel church of Christ in Corinth, MS where he works as a minister. Together they have 5 children: a son and 4 daughters. She is blessed to be a homeschooling mom and enjoys her family, church family and pets. A graduate of Faulkner University, Dawn has a degree in Elementary Education.