THE BIG QUESTION

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1 Peter 4:12-14 “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.”

Although we certainly do not feel blessed when we’re insulted and persecuted, Jesus said that we are, in fact, blessed (Matthew 5:11). The Lord’s perspective on persecution is different from ours. He considers it a positive thing if we suffer in His name. This is one of the biggest questions in the world today….how can persecution be a good thing?!

IT PROVES OUR FAITH. The only way we can know the capacity of our faith is by means of testing. When we persevere through a trial, we begin to understand that we can remain steadfast and obedient in the midst of a challenge. We also learn the magnitude of God’s strength to support us through persecution.

IT PURIFIES OUR LIFE. Persecution snaps our attention away from meaningless things and onto the Lord. We are driven into His arms by suffering. As we grow closer to Him, He’ll bring to our awareness wrong attitudes and actions (some related to our trial and some not) for which we must repent. Persecution is a powerful cleansing tool.

IT PREPARES US FOR GREATER SERVICE. Suffering breaks our self-reliance and pride attitudes that hinder our usefulness for the Lord. Pride crumbles when we realize we’re incapable of living the Christian life on our own, especially when we’ve been insulted and hurt.

A life of ease and pleasure isn’t always a sign of blessing. So let’s not “be surprised at the fiery ordeal….as though some strange thing were happening” (1 Peter 4:12-13). If persecution strengthens our faith, purifies our hearts, and equips us for greater service, then we should thank the Lord for the way He will use it in our lives. – Spencer Cromwell, Windsong church of Christ, Little Rock, AR

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