Perspective in Persecution

God’s people have always been a persecuted people. They live in the world, but are not of the world. Jesus said this to His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). The writer of Hebrews encouraged the believers in Christ he addressed to endure persecution by considering Christ Who Himself endured much hostility from sinners. After all, unlike Jesus and some included in the great cloud of witnesses (11:35-37) the persecution they were enduring had yet to result in their blood being shed (12:4). Perhaps, the hymn writer captures our feelings when we think of those who suffered before us, and those who are suffering now in other places around the world because of Christ. “Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?”
We may suffer milder forms of persecution in the here and now, but perhaps we will be called upon to suffer greatly in the future. God has an encouraging word for us in this epistle (Hebrews 12:4-11). We must consider the persecution we suffer to be the chastening of the LORD. He uses it along with other difficulties to discipline His children. This should be an encouragement to us for His chastening is evidence of our sonship! “For whom the LORD loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (vs.6). That’s not all! God chastens us that we might become more holy, and that we might produce more righteous fruit in our lives (vss.10-11). The next time hardship comes, may these truths help you keep it in perspective and rejoice that God is not against but for you!