| Avoid Persecution — John MacArthur
A Christian is expendable. You may not get physical flak but may suffer intellectual persecution instead. You may be quietly ostracized from society. You may be politely shunned at the water cooler. People may take a “there-goes-the-weirdo” attitude. And that causes a deflated ego problem. Every person wants so much to be accepted. But you cannot be accepted by the world and be effective for the Lord.
I am not a masochist. I take no pleasure in being abused, spiritually or otherwise, and I am not talking about going around saying, “Oh poor me. I am persecuted. Aren’t I spiritual?” God help us, no. But I am talking about a willingness to be bold, a willingness to face the world and let the chips fly. Don’t ever water down the Gospel. If the truth offends, then let it offend. People have been living their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.
Consider Paul’s words in his letter to the Philippians: “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all” (2:17). What did Paul mean? If I have to die as a sacrifice for you to be saved, that is good. If I have to offer my life as a sacrifice for your joy, I love it.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul rejoiced about his suffering. You may think Paul was out of his mind. No. He said “[I] rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh” (1:24). What does he mean? The world would like to get at Jesus. They do not persecute Christians because they dislike them; they persecute Christians because they dislike Jesus. They can’t get at Him because He is in heaven, so they get at you and me.
Paul said that he was enduring the suffering that was meant for Jesus; he was filling up in his body the afflictions of Jesus. The whole world is not done killing Jesus. Paul stood in the world’s way so that he would get to die for the One who had died for him. In the same way, we should count it a joy to stand and take the arrows meant for Jesus.
Paul said, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). These scars over here–these were not for me. They were for Jesus, but I took them for Him! Are you willing to suffer for Him who suffered for you? Are you willing to confront the world? That is the will of God.
MacArthur, John. Found: God’s Will. Rev. ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1977.