"We can boast of your constancy and your faith in persecution and trial." —2 Thessalonians 1:4
Our persecutions and trials are not completely the fault of our persecutors. Some may very well be "an expression of God's just judgment" on us for the sins we have not repented of (2 Thes 1:5). Therefore, our persecutions and trials should lead us quickly to repentance.
After we have repented, we can suffer persecution. In this way, we build up God's kingdom in an exceptionally powerful way (2 Thes 1:5). No praying, preaching, healing, teaching, or serving can have the impact that repentance and redemptive suffering have in furthering God's kingdom. We were saved not by Jesus' ministry but by His suffering.
Therefore, it is a "special privilege to take Christ's part — not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him" (Phil 1:29). "Rejoice instead, in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13). "See to it that none of you suffers for being a murderer, a thief, a malefactor, or a destroyer of another's rights. If anyone suffers for being a Christian, however, he ought not to be ashamed. He should rather glorify God in virtue of that name" (1 Pt 4:15-16).
Prayer: "We pray for you always that our God may make you worthy of His call, and fulfill by His power every honest intention and work of faith" (2 Thes 1:11).
Promise: "For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is He." —Ps 96:4
Praise: St. Louis, king of France, especially delighted in serving the blind. He wished to keep his deeds of mercy secret (Mt 6:4), and the blind were unable to recognize that he was a king.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008
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