“For when we were with you, we kept telling you before hand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.”
1 Thessalonians 3:4
One of the things we must face and own up to is the fact that Christians who desire to love and serve Jesus will suffer affliction.
Paul certainly had his fair share. Opposed by those whom he preached to, tormented by Satan (2 Cor 12), looked down upon by those who he served (2 Cor 11), accused of not having the spirit of God (1 Cor 7:40), stoned to near death, imprisoned, beaten, and flogged, he received all of these just for doing the will of God.
Those who set out to serve Christ who don’t learn this beforehand will find themselves unrightfully surprised. For if those who served Christ before us had suffered, we certainly will! And it will be to our glory that we do, not to our shame. There’s no point in complaining or crying when opposition comes our way.
As a matter of fact, the only time Paul cried was for those who didn’t know Jesus, not for his troubles. He considered his troubles “light and momentary” compared to what would be his in the age to come. And so he kept going, with full vigor and force.
You see, the Bible says that Christians are the light of the world (Matthew 5), and that the world is dark and under control of the evil one. It is true that we are visible for miles and that our influence is infectious. But understand this too: because you are the only light in the dark world, the evil forces governing the darkness certainly will recognize when light comes their way.
And you can be sure that you are public enemy number one! You will be tested on every side and Satan will do his best to blow out that light in you! Don’t let that cursed one steal your joy and your power in Christ! Persevere in these trials, and you will find your joy overflowing when you see with your eyes the deliverance of Almighty God.
Grace to all who suffer for Jesus.