Preparation And Equipping
This world wants to recruit you as its own and sink you deep into its systems or help you attempt to do life as you see fit. With this kind of set-up or mentality, the world has no room for Christ. Therefore, persecution is inevitable and suffering a certainty for the Christian.
John records Jesus recalling to the listeners memory, "Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:20)
However, Jesus encouraged His disciples about the coming persecution by stating, "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, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:11-12) This is because He knew that after establishing His church, persecution and suffering would follow.
1 Peter 4:12-19 addresses this suffering that Christ followers will experience and what to do to lessen or overcome the suffering. Here is what the passage states -"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. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,
'If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."
- "rejoice" - "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."
- "praise God" - "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."
- "commit" yourselves to Christ - "So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator"
- "and continue to do good"