5 Important Reasons to Face Persecution With Joy


It’s strange how we tend to overlook certain phrases in scripture while emphasizing others. It happened to me the other day. I was reading James 1:27, a verse about pure religion. I’ve always noticed the part about orphans and widows, but overlooked the phrase about keeping myself from being polluted by the world. Lately, I’ve felt a bit polluted when watching the news. I need to be careful. We do the same thing with scriptures about persecution. The fact that we easily overlook them is a bit troubling.

Persecution is something followers of Jesus must be trained to expect.

C. Anderson

They need help in how to respond to it appropriately. This is our responsibility as Disciple Making Movement catalysts, trainers, and spiritual leaders.

Back to ignoring parts of scripture. Another classic case for this is the part of the Great Commission that says we are to baptize. The go and make disciples phrase is emphasized while the baptizing part overlooked.

Turn your attention to the Sermon on the Mount. We emphasize the first seven beatitudes and overlook the eighth, “Blessed are those who are persecuted…” (Matthew 5:10).

The version of Jesus’ famous sermon, found in Luke six, says, “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23) NIV.

Notice the word when. It is not if, but when. Persecution is something we must expect and prepare for.

Nik Ripken, in his excellent book, Insanity of Obedience, tells of an interview with a Russian pastor about persecution.

It is expected. Well, that’s the way persecution is for us. That’s the way God’s activity is for us. We don’t write much about these things—we don’t even talk much about these things—because these things are as normal as the sun coming up in the east.

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.

1 Peter 4:2 NIV.

Five Reasons to Face Persecution with Joy

1) Persecution matures us.

Hardships release maturity, wholeness and provision in our lives. In James, the author (likely the Apostle Peter) writes about this. James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

We all want maturity, completeness and to not lack anything. When trials come, vicious attacks from those who oppose us, we can rejoice. We embrace the path to maturity with hope knowing our loving Father will turn this around and bring good.

2) Persecution gives us a chance to be a witness.

The reality of our faith is never more on display then when others oppose us. Do we respond in love and forgiveness? The boldness with which we continue to grow in our devotion to God when persecuted, shows the authenticity of what we have found in Christ.

3) Persecution enables us to follow our Lord in new ways and become like Him.

Philippians 3:10 speaks of the “fellowship of His sufferings.” When attacked by those who reject our Lord’s message, we enter into a new place of identification with Christ as one who also suffered in this way. We must be willing to follow Jesus in everything, including the opposition of evil men.

4) Persecution waters the seed of the gospel.

While martyrdom is not to be sought, we must not fear it. Let me use a little literary freedom here. Consider the martyrdom of reputations, the martyrdom of comforts, and the martyrdom of security. When these things are put to death, new life grows within. As it says in John 12:24, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed…

Persecution and suffering cause us to die to things in our lives that that don’t really matter. It reminds us of what is most important. This waters the seed of the gospel within and around us.

5) Persecution guarantees a heavenly reward.

Jesus told us to be glad when persecuted, keeping our eyes on the coming reward. “A great award awaits you in heaven…” He said. (Matt 5:12 NLT).

It is easy to become focused on life in the here and now. This life is temporary, only lasting a few years. Heaven is eternal. Those who are persecuted for His sake are guaranteed a great reward that will last forever.

Have you experienced persecution because of your faith and witness? How did you respond?

Take a moment to pray for the persecuted church around the world. Ask God for wisdom to prepare for the persecution Jesus promised would follow if we pursue His Kingdom purposes.

Share your thoughts about persecution on the DMM Frontier Missions Facebook group or in the comments below.


  1. Larissa Yahnke

    I can relate to the joy of persecution, but because nothing anyone says or does can change what my Father says. He is true.

    I had to remove one with one of my disciples from the fellowship, because she would not repent (Matthew 18).

    After I did this, many of her friends spoke evil of the ministry and me personally. Some of the things, that are reviews online, we cannot remove.

    This lasted for about a week. I dealt with nervousness, but I had no emotional pain and no desire for revenge but only for their repentance.

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  2. Doug

    For the Joy set before Him , Jesus endured the cross, Lord give us visions of Joy and of You to strengthen us through persecutions!

  3. Nkeiruka

    Persecution as I know is part of our Christian life. We don’t ask for it but when it comes we go through them. The grace of God definitely sustains us if we have been totally dedicated to God not depending on our strength but with absolute submission to God we say not my will but God’s will be done. We will definitely come out strong, because the Spirit of God works out His strength in us and through us regardless of our human frailties. He is able to do more than what we ask or think. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us. Thanks for that post Anderson on persecution. That is actually a real truth that must be discussed and a topic the Church must embrace. For through many tribulations shall we enter the kingdom of God, Apostle Paul said.

  4. Pingback: 3 Things to Do When Troubled Times Hit Hard - Missionary Life

  5. Boghos L. Artinian

    Turkey: Erdogan’s “Leftovers of the Sword”

    ‘Remnants of the sword’
    They call us,
    Somewhat disappointed
    That some of us Christians,
    Are still there;
    That the genocide
    Had not wiped us all.

    Boghos L. Artinian

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  6. Zachary Christian Quitliano

    Hello, SO far I’ve found no one who will help interceding in prayer groups or anything else. Here’s a short version, I knew someone had three kids, a family friend of the mom was sitting on couch under covers with one of the three kids, hands of both the family friend and boy under covers, I being a new dad at time red flags went up. So I showed the mom she looked and shrugged shoulders. A few days later I’m seeing red flags I can’t be with this type of person, she then filed a police report saying I did horrible things to the kids, what mom didn’t get to know was what kids told me about the guy mom calls her friend did to them and told them. Wasn’t my place to tell her, and she wouldn’t of believed me any way. Authorities investigated with law enforcement and cps, nothing was found to show I had done anything,,,, of course not I prayed for God t OK fight for my innocence, and he did. But they don’t feel the law did justice, so mom who said she knew someone who could make people dissappear without getting caught,bhas been after me through gangs of minions people in cars stalking me and I was kidnapped at one point…. I trust God and his word but I need spiritual warfare help here, wrongfully persecuted like Yeshua and many others n the world. Prayer warriors help???? Reply I hope,,,,,,,

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      Cynthia Anderson

      Sounds like a very tough situation to go through. Praying God will provide you with some local Christian friends there who can stand with you and counsel you in this. Are there any counseling centers nearby? I’d suggest you consider that for some of the trauma you’ve been through in this.

      1. Zachary

        The put a bioglass rfid in my mouth against permission that’s part of all this.
        Also the kids listened to me when I told them to tell there mom, when they did they said mommy’s friend,, she more than likely thought me vs. The family friend who did evil sinful things. So I feel like his sin was placed on me…. I now know not only how Yahusha Jesus christ felt but I’m more understanding of what he did for me. I am in therapy and psychiatry, been diagnosed with ptsd now cause of it. I ask for petitions to be brought before the Lord soo they don’t brutalize and kill me an innocent, and to show up and show out like he says in his word about enemies.

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