Preparation for Suffering and Persecution
As Americans we are well aware of all kinds of preparation. We prepare for getting married, for going on a vacation, for our life’s work, for a move, for events, and so on. We are not unfamiliar with the need for preparation, nor the value of it. This line of thinking caused me to wonder about the need for preparation in what is to come on a daily basis.
Steve’s messages through Matthew are presently camping out in what is to come concerning “persecution.” My thoughts about persecution have been laced with the need for preparation. We are hearing about facing and walking through persecution in order to glorify God, and this is exactly what I want to do. I don’t want to be a “Peter” who boasted that he would never deny Jesus. None of us know how we will respond or react in any given moment … even though we want to be steadfast, confident in the Lord, and for Him to be glorified through us.
My search led me to Romans 5:2b-5
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
and character hope.
And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out His love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us.”
“Suffering produces” … this statement alone gave me pause and cause for pondering. Conclusion: Suffering always produces something … honorable or less than honorable.
The cool thing about truth is that no matter how you look at it … it’s still TRUTH! Right-to-left, left-to-right, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top. Mulling over these verses bottom-to-top resonated with me the thoroughness of God’s preparation for persecution.
Verse 5b – “… because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
- Our meditation and the receiving of the love of Jesus draws us close to Him in heart and thought
- Our hearts can live in unity and encouragement with God because He has poured out His love within us
Verse 5a – “And hope does not disappoint us …”
- Our hope in Him is stoked by His agape love
- Our hope in God will not be disappointed, according to what Isaiah 49:23e says
- Our understanding of hope is nothing less than following God’s will for us, producing a caliber of character/identity we could not otherwise embody
Verse 4 – “ … perseverance, character, …
- Our Character motivates our steadfast perseverance
- Our ever-increasing realization of Who Christ is prompts us to persevere
Verse 3 – “… suffering produces perseverance …”
- Our foundation in Christ establishes within us Love, hope, character and perseverance
- Our preparation for suffering/persecution in the Name of Jesus is by virtue of the endurance and indwelling of the Holy Spirit
- Our reason for rejoicing in the midst of the suffering is because He is the One Who first loved us and gave Himself up for us
In studying these verses … ‘bottom-to-top’ … I’m sensing an explicit preparation for persecution that I needed personally. It is a stronger willingness to suffer for the cause of Christ within and beyond myself.
Thank You, Lord,
That we have been justified through faith in Christ
Who paid for our peace with God
So that through Jesus we have gained access by faith
into this grace in which we now stand!!!