Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Opportunity of Persecution

Scripture Text: Acts 8:1-25

The death of Stephen triggered a wave of persecution of the believers. Generally we think of persecution as a negative think as it often makes it more difficult to proclaim Jesus openly. In the book of Acts as persecution grows, the mission of God in Jesus Christ grows. There appears to be a connection with persecution and spreading of the Gospel.

Most people want their lives to be easy and with as few challenges as possible. So when difficulty shows up it is assumed we are doing something wrong, or that something about the situation is wrong. The reality is we can be doing all the right things, in all the right places and still face trials and tribulations.

In fact the most dangerous times of our faith are when things are going along well. During times of easy going it becomes more likely we will reduce our reliance of God. When we face struggle or persecution there is a clarifying of our faith and a reliance of God. Challenges in life and our relationship with Jesus have the capacity to bear fruit like few other opportunities.

After the ceremony was done. Upon arrival home from the honeymoon. After the gifts had all been opened and thank yous sent. We thought married life would simply continue to go on in a state of eternal bliss. Then we got a dose of reality. This marriage thing is hard work and often there is struggle. The struggles we face in marriage are not a sign of a poor marriage or even a sign that we are doing it wrong. It is a sign that we are married.

Not everyday of marriage should be a struggle. Through the years we can point to more times of delight and joy than we can point to struggle. Yet during the times of struggle have been when our relationship has grown the most. During the times of struggle we have had to rely of God more deeply and hold onto each other more tightly. We do not need to seek after persecution or struggle, it will show up on its own. At the same time we need not be afraid, we must be ready to grow.

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