In our series so far, we have pondered four points about persecution. First we discussed our perfect potentate (King) Jesus, then how we are a peculiar people, after that the peaceful personality we should have during trials, and last week we looked at the positive perks of suffering. We have just two points left in our series. This week we are looking at praise presented.
Let’s begin by looking at the definition of the biblical words used for praise. The two main ones are praise and exalt. To praise means to express warm approval or admiration of someone or something. To exalt means to hold someone or something in very high regard or to raise someone to a higher rank or position of power. These are the things we want to look at today.
Regarding praise, there are two recipients when it comes to trials or persecutions. The first is that Jesus receives glory and praise from our suffering. Secondly, we will receive praise as well. We will look at each.
In Luke 23, Jesus was crucified. He suffered many things for the sake of the kingdom. These were discussed in the first article of this series. Luke records that standing nearby was a Roman centurion. When he saw what Christ went through, he praised God. (verse 47) Suffering for righteousness should bring about praise to God. It isn’t about the suffering. It is about how we deal with the suffering. The centurion saw the love that Jesus had. He didn’t revile. He didn’t yell, cuss, or fight back. This lack of retaliation was not due to weakness. It was because of hope. A kind of hope that only comes from God. For that, He should be praised and exalted.
Paul understood that. He suffered many beatings and imprisonments for the sake of Christ. In Philippians 1, Paul spoke of those that would cause him distress in his imprisonment. No matter what, he rejoices in the fact that Christ is proclaimed. In verse 20 he says, “according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Christ would be exalted, whether he lives or dies. To borrow and twist a phrase from a movie: If we live, we praise Him, if we die, we praise Him. Either way, God be praised. Paul saw death simply as another way to praise God.
In 2 Timothy 4:17-18, Paul says: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Paul acknowledges that though God has saved him from trials before, he will not live on this earth forever. God will bring him “safely to His kingdom” some time, but he was not afraid. Finally, Paul gives God the glory for the times he’s escaped and the time to come that he knows he will not be spared.
Peter also mentions this. In 1 Peter 4:16 he wrote, “but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this name.” During our suffering, we glorify God. Again, it is because of the hope we will receive.
Finally, we are to receive praise. Peter writes: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9) The sentence structure here is odd, but seems to indicate that we are to receive “praise and glory and honor” if we have remained faithful through our trials.
This “praise and glory and honor” may very well be the words, “Well done, good and faithful slave.” (Matthew 25:21, 23) How wonderful after our “moment” (2 Corinthians 4:17) here on earth, especially after trials and persecutions, to hear those words. Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Wouldn’t you love to have that glory revealed in you because of Him.
May we praise Him for the works which He has done! Even if we may undergo a trial by fire here on earth, we praise Him. For the wonderful plan of salvation He has made. For the hope of the praise we shall hear from His lips, praise him!
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.