In 1960, African American Ruby Bridges enrolled in an all-white school in New Orleans. During the first year, when she attended class as the only black student, she faced intense hatred. Her family members lost their homes and jobs as a result.

Ruby endured terrifying persecution for the fact she was born black. Christians, from the earliest days of the Church, have also suffered for the fact they are born again, made righteous in Christ.

Persecution isn’t guaranteed, but neither should it surprise us. Those who don’t approve of things like social integration or of those living according to the Spirit often respond with hostility, hatred, and fear. People persecute us because they are frightened, but we don’t need to fear what they fear.

Peter experienced persecution firsthand. In the short and powerful verse above, he packed what he knew about surviving others’ cruelty while rejoicing. It reveals we are blessed — happy and to be envied, in fact. We are receiving God’s favor and eternal reward. We shouldn't let trouble frighten or upset us.

The intimidation might not come from outsiders. It could simply be increased health problems or issues at home. Satan leads the opposition, and he fights against all who are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. He won’t bother us as long as we remain on the sidelines. But when we move out in faith, he will try to stop us. But as God says many times throughout Scripture, “Don’t be afraid! I am with you” (Joshua 1:9).

Lord God, open my eyes so I will see suffering as a reward. Also, let me see my persecutors as frightened people without a loving Father. Help me minister to them by showing them I will not fear their threats. Amen.

Go Deeper — Are you facing any fearful persons or circumstances right now? Take time to pray for them more specifically, asking that God will enable you to manifest gentleness, peace, and perseverance in those situations through His Spirit's power.

Tags: The Letters of Peter 1 Peter 3
Photo Credit: Luz Mendoza