Very often, we look at promises in the Bible that declare prosperity and favour, and we try our best to apply it to our own lives.
As much as we may not like to admit it, we all want the best for ourselves, we all want to live our best life now. We all want to be comfortable, safe and at the same time, have favour with God.
But in the pursuit of these awesome Biblical promises, we forget about some other verses that are actually promised to all who follow Christ.
Here are some of them –
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.2 Timothy 3:12
Fun promise, isn’t it? In fact, we’re called to expect hatred and not be surprised by persecution.
Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.1 John 3:13
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.1 Peter 4:12
Now, if you’re reading this post, that means you probably have access to good internet and a home and you may live in a country that, on paper, celebrates religious freedom.
Chances are, your persecution isn’t going to involve physical torture. Unfortunately, death, abuse and torture is a reality for hundreds of thousands of Christians.
If you didn’t know that, here’s a little video about some facts about Christian persecution in India.
Here’s the simple truth – wherever you are, if you are a Christian, you better expect persecution.
What does that look like? It may be as simple as people calling you weird and shunning you. It may involve people not wanting you at gatherings. It may involve people saying, “that guy prays too much”, or “that girl is way too religious.”
Oh and guess what – it can even involve the people closest to you – your family – calling you eccentric, and them saying that ‘this is not what God wants from you.’
Chances are, you may even be called the devil by ‘well meaning’, church going people.
Jesus addresses that too –
If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!Matthew 10:25
But in those moments, it is important to remember Jesus’ promises. We are going to have to expect and accept opposition.
And we remember, that we are called to love Jesus above all.
Above people who mock us, above our friends, and above even our families.
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.Matthew 10:37
Is it hard? Yeah, probably. But Jesus is always better than the approval of people.
Jesus doesn’t only promise us difficulties, He also promises hope.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33
And then He tells us how to respond to opposition, whatever that might look like.
No, He doesn’t say weep over your misery.
He doesn’t tell us to sulk about it.
He tells us to…wait for it…rejoice!
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…Matthew 5:11-12
How awesome is that, right?
In the face of opposition, we are called to rejoice.
Because if you’re wholeheartedly following Jesus, and if you are being criticized for ‘praying too much’ or following Jesus too much, or loving Jesus too much, you better rejoice.
It means you’re doing something right.
If you’re following Jesus, expect opposition. Expect hatred. Expect rejection.
Jesus promises us that that’s how we’ll be treated.
And then rejoice. Look in hope for the day when the King Himself will look at you and say, “well done, good and faithful servant.”
Because Jesus promises us that too.