Written by: Audrey Hardy
Article source: JOY! Magazine

 “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” – Acts 5:41

Reading recently through the Gospel of John made me realise just how difficult it must have been for the first believers, like John, Andrew, and Peter, to take a stand and follow Jesus. Every Jew knew about the coming Messiah, but not necessarily that He would be the Son of God. There was neither concept of the Holy Spirit nor any teaching about the death and resurrection of Christ. Little wonder, then, that the first believers were considered as men who had lost their minds. None of it made sense to ordinary Jews, like Paul, who had been brought up versed in the Hebrew scriptures. Yet, despite their times of doubt and weakness, these first Christians knew what it was to be persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Today, countless lukewarm Christians have never experienced the reality of any kind of real persecution because their lives give no cause for it. And yet, many feel victimised and sorry for themselves when they suffer even slightly for Christ or when they are even slightly marginalised for Christ! Scripture makes it crystal-clear that those who want to live Godly lives in Christ, will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). 

As long as a church compromises by chasing after the things of this world and not living as true and faithful disciples of Jesus, persecution is unlikely to be its portion. Isn’t it time to examine ourselves and see if we are really taking a stand for our faith and shining as lights in a dark and sinful world? Of course, persecution will be part of the price to pay; but what better opportunity for believers to grow in the knowledge of Christ and in their relationship with Him! Persecution may come from the world or even family members, but isn’t it an honour to identify with the sufferings of Christ and so give glory to Jesus who came and gave His life for us?

Audrey Hardy is an international speaker and songwriter. She’s married to Miki Hardy and co-founded CTMI. For more information email:  audrey@ctmi.org

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