"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness" (Matt. 5:10).
If you don’t experience persecution, people probably don’t know you’re a Christian.
I heard of a man who was fearful because he was starting a new job with a group of unbelievers whom he thought might give him a bad time if they found out he was a Christian. After his first day at work his wife asked him how he got along with them. "We got along just fine," he said. "They never found out I'm a Christian."
Silence is one way to avoid persecution. Some other ways are to approve of the world's standards, laugh at its jokes, enjoy its entertainment, and smile when it mocks God. If you never confront sin or tell people Jesus is the only way to heaven, or if your behavior is so worldly no one can distinguish you from unbelievers, you will probably be accepted and won't feel the heat of persecution. But beware!
Jesus said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you. . . . Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory" (Luke 6:26; 9:26). The last thing anyone should want is for Christ to pronounce a curse on them or be ashamed of them. That's an enormous price to pay for popularity!
If you take a stand for Christ and manifest Beatitude attitudes, you will be in direct opposition to Satan and the evil world system. Eventually you will experience some form of persecution. That has been true from the very beginning of human history, when Abel was murdered by his brother Cain because Cain couldn't tolerate his righteousness.
You should never fear persecution. God will grant you grace and will never test you beyond what He enables you to endure (1 Cor. 10:13). Nor should you ever compromise biblical truth to avoid persecution. In Philippians 1:29 Paul says that persecution is as much a gift of God as salvation itself. Both identify you as a true believer!
Suggestions for Prayer
Memorize 1 Peter 2:20-21. Ask God to continually grant you the grace to follow Christ's example when difficulties come your way.
For Further Study
Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, noting the severe persecution Paul endured for Christ's sake.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.