The “for good” in your persecution

all-through-christ-1212-wall-plaque_MEDI’m not going to walk around with a sandwich board reading “The End Is Near”…but we know from the authoritative Word that things will not get better and better for Christians. Not in this life. Paul wrote about it. He called it “the fellowship of his sufferings”.

I am speaking of real persecution. Not just being ostracized in the cafeteria at work, or receiving sideways glances when you choose to speak a word for the Savior, His word, or His kingdom.

I’m speaking of ominous things, dark deeds which many assume are a thing of the past…but believers in other countries could verify otherwise. I do believe this is coming again. The things we read of in “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” (I plan to study it free here).

I remember in college that we would sometimes have “Russian prayer meetings” at night. We’d sit in the dark, as if we were in hiding, and in hushed tones we’d quote scripture and hymn texts from memory. Largely, it was a game. I think the time is coming when it will not be.

Reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians, one which he wrote from jail (having been incarcerated for his faith), this captured my attention:

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (vv 12-14)
What was he saying? Essentially that he was able to find joy in the midst of his persecution (joy is the theme of this little book), because the gospel work was not squelched by his being made an “example”. No. He bore the punishments with courage, and others hearing of it were instead emboldened. The victorious Savior who had conquered sin and death and Hell…the One who has overcome the world…He was continuing triumphant through the life of His servant.
We look at the life of Paul, and we marvel. We thoughtfully consider, and we find ourselves doubtful that we could ever do what he did, bear what he bore, rejoice how he rejoiced, endure what he suffered. That installment of grace has not been needful for us yet, so we have a hard time wrapping our minds around it.
In that same little epistle, Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (4:13) What does “all” mean? Think back over the road you’ve come in your faith. Hard things? Some deep valleys? Some strenuous climbs to fearsome peaks? Parched at all in the desert? God is faithful.Through Him, we can be faithful to show others joy in suffering, unshakeable confidence in truth, exuberant certainty in Heaven as our home.
There is a fortitude, a calm courage, a joyful and resolute spirit that only those who live “through Christ” can know. He has sung the “new song” to us, and now we must pass the melody on to others.
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.”
Ps. 40:2,3

One thought on “The “for good” in your persecution

  1. Yes we can participate in the fellowship of His suffering.
    I wonder how much of my bible I can recall from memory?
    Working on this now!
    God give us boldness. No retreat. No surrender.

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