There are so many blessings of being a child of God. God promises us many things and He is always faithful to keep His promises. But along with these blessings, we also have responsibility and we also will go through struggles and even persecution just because the world hates God and hates His followers. See my blog post, Cost and Blessing of Following Jesus
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 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. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus warned the disciples of the cost of following Him, but He also encouraged them that the Holy Spirit will guide them through it. It is the same for us. Living in the United States, we have so much freedom, to say what we feel, to worship God without fear of imprisonment or torture or death as people do in so many places in the world, especially the Muslim countries, but not only there. Through the years of my life, I have seen these freedoms in this great nation being whittled away. The devil is often subtle in working his evil. I believe he has been doing this here for some time and I think it really started when Christians allowed the government to remove prayer in schools. Persecution (though it is so minute in comparison to other places) has been on the rise here in the U.S. in the last decade or so. They are trying to remove “Merry Christmas” to say “Happy Holidays” instead and take “under God” out of the pledge of allegiance…very subtle. Businesses and churches are being looked down upon and even sued for standing up for their faith by not having part in gay marriages (such as not baking a wedding cake, pastors refusing to perform marriages that would go against their beliefs). We are being called bigots, homophobes and racists, judgemental and uncompassionate for standing up for what is right and speaking out against abortion, homosexuality, sharia law and pot shops…again, subtle. (Let us also remember how we speak out and to not be those things, but to be kind and respectful as we do). Unfortunately, many churches here are willing to compromise their teachings and practices to appease the world. But what if Congress were to enact a law that would consider it a hate crime to speak out against such things? It could happen before we know it.
Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.”
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
We need to share God’s word and show our faith no matter what. Christians around the world are being imprisoned, tortured and killed for their faith. Let us keep them in our prayer and let them be an example that we should be strong and put our trust in the Lord. “God is my Refuge; what can man do to me?”