As we watch from our homes the rise in persecution of God’s people around the world, our hearts go out to those suffering, both in prayer and in words of encouragement where and when we can. We may think that it has never been as bad as it is now. The fact is, from the beginning of the church, there have been waves of persecution that were far more intense. This reminds me of Peter and his words of encouragement to saints that were under a very heavy trial.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:12–14). What a beautiful perspective! Let me outline the major points in these verses.
The danger in suffering for the sake of Christ is to focus our attention on ourselves and what we are going through, rather than HIM. When we do, we miss the joy and beauty of God’s glory and the Spirit’s presence and affirmation.
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