Jesus told His followers they would be hated by unbelievers, “I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you . . . If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:19-20). But He also said that persecution can come from religious people: “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think he is offering service to God” (John 16:2). Sometimes the religious crowd can be harder on His disciples than unbelievers in the world.
The apostle Paul tells us that we will experience a deeper walk with God through “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). No one in their right mind goes searching for ways to experience pain. No one wants to suffer. In fact, we usually avoid it at all costs. Yet, as we seek to know God in a more intimate way, the forces of hell are unleashed upon us through evil people who hate us. Can you imagine how Jesus must have felt as He walked in total obedience to His Father, yet was constantly hated and slandered throughout His ministry?
You cannot learn “the fellowship of His sufferings” by reading books. You’ll only learn this level of anguish when people hate and slander you when you haven’t done anything wrong. People will gossip about you, and sometimes only you and the Lord know that you are blameless. What are you to do when you are hated and falsely accused?
1.Keep your integrity. If you are blameless, don’t take the bait and react in an ungodly way. This is what Satan wants you to do. When David was verbally attacked, he said, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me” (Ps. 25:21).
2. Remain silent before your accusers. I’m not talking about if you are falsely accused of a crime. In that case, you should present evidence that you are innocent. But in most cases, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. You’ll wear yourself out trying to defend yourself to everyone. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him” (Prov. 26:4). Even though many false witnesses lied about Jesus, He kept silent before them (Matt. 26:60-63, Acts 8:32). Always remember that God knows the truth and will bring justice on your accusers.
3. Draw near to God. As you go through this painful experience, you will understand exactly how Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets felt when they were hated and slandered. Not many people are willing to walk down this lonely road, but the Holy Spirit will teach you deeper truths as you join in “the fellowship of His sufferings.”
4. Rejoice because your reward is great in heaven. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-11). Notice that these are false accusations, not truthful charges that you have actually done. God will make it up to you on the Judgment Day when you are rewarded. Jesus said to “leap for joy” (Luke 6:23) because you will receive a great eternal reward for being persecuted. www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com*******************************
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