The Bible has a lot to say about suffering for being a Christian.
Jesus said in John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also.”
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke to this subject.
Matthew 5:10-12 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
In this passage, we are told to take joy in the fact that we are persecuted for the sake of Jesus, that we are not alone in the persecution, and that a reward awaits us in Heaven for enduring the persecution.
Keep these two things in mind:
1. It is an honor to suffer for Jesus’ sake. (See Acts 5:40-41.) When we suffer or are persecuted for our faith, we can know that God not only sees it, but He has also entrusted us with it. What an honor from the Sovereign God of the Universe to have Him say, I trust you to suffer as My Son did!
2. Jesus told us how to deal with those who persecute us. (See Matthew 5:44.) If we serve and pray for our enemies, we mimic our Savior. As He was suffering the greatest torment for the sake of sinful people (including us), Jesus spoke these words from the cross: “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’...” (Luke 23:34).
Truly, there has been no greater love displayed! Therefore, don’t think it strange when you suffer persecution. Instead, rejoice and know that, just as the Father glorified the Son for His obedience in persecution, He will reward you for yours.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part, He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12-14).