Mike Johnson

Christians have hardships from time to time. Some face social ostracism. Some have difficulties with their families because of their religious beliefs. Other Christians may have to suffer economically because of their stands for righteousness. There are times when a person might suffer physical abuse or even death for the cause of Christ.

Consider two passages which speak of persecution. I Peter 4:16 says, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven….”

It is clear that most Christians in our society face very few hardships because of their beliefs. Sometimes, Christians feel sorry for themselves when they do face hardships or difficulties. If that it is our attitude, it will do us good to look back on all that Paul endured for God’s cause. Consider II Corinthians 11:23-28 where Paul points out the many things he had endured as a Christian.

“…in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (NASB)

So you think you have problems: If so, look at Paul’s experiences. If a person does, he will realize that his own problems are small, and that we have probably suffered very little. Also, we should be encouraged to sacrifice much more, when necessary, for God’s cause.