How can I be certain we will all face persecution? First and foremost, I know because Jesus told us we would face it (John 16:33). We need no other proof. Jesus speaks only the truth. He cannot lie and is never wrong. What you may have never considered, though, is the “why” behind Jesus’s proclamation. Jesus established the foundation here. He said the world would hate us because it first hated Him (John 15:18).
They didn’t just hate Jesus for who He said He was, they hated everything He did. The fact many were following Him incensed them even further. So whether it is Jesus or a follower of His, the hatred of the world will burn hot. But there is still a deeper “why” behind such hatred that if we understand, I think it will help us deal more effectively with the persecution that is sure to come.
The world has a system by which it operates regardless of what country you live in or who is in power at the moment. Satan is the ruler of this world and he is constantly working to bring about his vision for the human race. For over six thousand years, Satan has been methodically shaping and twisting the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls. Every generation finds itself eviler, more depraved, and more lost than those who came before them. The devil delights in this sad regression from the beauty of God to the darkness of Hell.
The past several years have showed how deeply the system of this world rewards compliance and persecutes any deviation from the prescribed norm. But it has been this way for thousands of years. The world establishes its system of acceptable standards and behaviors that more often than not stand in contrast to God’s Word. The system rewards pleasure, entertainment, selfishness, deceit, and pride. These stand in opposition to the laws and sovereign plan of God.
To stand against the system is to push back against the masses. No matter how skilled the fighter is, one versus a hundred will never end well for the one. He will be (at best) bruised and bloodied at the end. It is the same for us. When we stand for Jesus, we will all face persecution, because we are standing against the massive tide of history and the systems of this world. We are proclaiming the system is corrupt and unredeemable, and, by extension, so are those who follow it.
That we will all face persecution is certain, and now you know why. We rebel against the systems of this world, and the ruler of this world, along with all his adherents, sees us as rebels who they must destroy. If we will only play along and conform to the system, we will get along fine. Life will be easier. The system is not prone to attack its own but is constantly seeking to devour any who dare step out of line.
If you want to avoid persecution, don’t follow Jesus. Go with the flow and enjoy all this world has to offer. That is the wide path, and it leads only to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). For those who choose the narrow path and resolve to stand for Christ and against the systems of this world, know we will all face persecution. We may very well die for our faith. But the reward far exceeds the persecution. Hold fast and never waver. These light afflictions are only for a little while, and if we endure, we will spend eternity in the presence of Jesus, forever alive in Him (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).