When facing persecutions
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 1 Peter 4:12-16
It is easy to lose your focus on God when you are dealing with trials and sufferings in life. The tendency is to blame the circumstances on fate or accident. Yet from the text, Peter’s admonition was to not be surprised when facing difficulties in life. The trials that Peter was referring to were the ones associated in being faithful in your relationship with God that leads to a conviction to be firm even when mocked and persecuted. There are those that tend to mock Christians because they are not familiar with the Christian faith. They also lack understanding as to why there will be those that will be willing to suffer because of their faith in Christ. Peter himself had this experience when him and John were told by the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders during their time, to stop telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ and the good news of salvation. Instead of reassuring the Sanhedrin that they will stop [proclaiming the gospel, they expressed their resolve to follow God rather than men. “Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). They were warned that the consequence of their actions could escalate if they will not follow the order given to them by the religious leaders. When they were released, they did not hide instead they returned to their brothers and sisters in the Lord and asked to join them in praying to God. They prayed that Christians will not waver on their conviction to stand up for their faith and that God will give them boldness and courage in sharing their faith to others. “O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word” (Acts 4:29). When was the last time you were mocked and persecuted because of your faith? Did people around you know of your relationship with God? When difficult times come your way, you can focus on the problem and lose sight of God or you can remain focused in God and see that He is bigger than the trials you are facing. Regularly ask God to help you live faithfully to His call even when you are going through tough times in life and always trust that He is in control.