In an estimate of 50 nations worldwide today, Christians are being persecuted for their faith. In some of these nations it is illegal to own a Bible, to share your faith/Christ, change your faith or teach your children about Jesus.
Those who boldly follow Christ in spite of government edict or radical opposition can face harassment, arrest, torture and even death. Statistics shared by www.persecution.com and www.OpenDoorsUSA.org reveal that worldwide in each Month… 322 Christians are killed for their faith; 214 Christian and churches properties are being destroyed and 722 violence is forced against Christians in form of beatings, forced marriages, abductions, rapes, arrests.
In one bible study, participants were asked to share their experiences of persecution because of their love for Jesus Christ….the response was silence. One participant wondered aloud….does the silence mean that we are not following through with the Great Commission of Jesus Christ which is “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Mathew 28:18
‘Paul in the Early church by the time he had written 2 Corinthians, had already lost count of how many times he was whipped in his diligence to serve God, and he made a brief list of his other sufferings: Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one; Three times I was beaten with a rod; Once I received a stoning; Three times I suffered shipwreck; A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea; Sleepless nights; In hunger and thirst, many times without food; In cold and without enough clothing 2 Cor 11:23-25, 27’. Despite the difficulties Paul encountered … he took delight in his service and standing for Christ.
You may be in a location where at the moment… there is no outright persecution for the Christian faith; how about hardship because of your love for the LORD Jesus Christ? Like Paul, can you lose count of the hardship you have endured because of your stand to follow a life based on the teachings of the LORD Jesus Christ?
Let me liken a Christian to a Gardener. While in his comfort at home, a gardener will never get to feel strained muscles from working long hours in the hot sun or bone-tired exhaustion. It is when the gardener is in the field working …tilling the land, clearing bushes, keeping watch for the preying birds that he will experience the hot rays of the sun, the pain and discomfort from scratches of dry plants, terror of coming across snakes which would have made one’s garden their habitation. However, at the end of the season …one is expectant of a harvest.
Are we expecting a crown and rewards from God without experiencing any hardship as a result of our commitment to God?
In his word, the LORD forewarned us that… “A servant is not greater than his Master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”. “…They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” John 15:20, 21