There’s a connection between witnessing and suffering; they often go hand in hand. And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2Tim.3:12. This desire leads us by His Spirit to witness verbally of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because of love for Him. It also leads us to publicly stand for His truth and His ways, because of devotion to Him.
So you find yourself in a situation, say at work or at home, or in the community, and there is spiritual or moral evil all around you, and people enjoying what God hates. For your stand that these things are wrong and are against God, you are mocked, scorned and laughed out of the room. Or you speak of Jesus and are mocked and labeled one of “those” people. We think this hurts, and it does, but is a minor thing. This is nothing! Just look at church history. Currently around the world, saints suffer terribly in ways we do not. Perhaps our little sufferings are opportunities to practice a Christ honoring response, for bigger suffering down the road.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. 1Pe.4:12-16.
In this teaching, we learn that persecution is a sign of our union with Christ, and His great love for us. He directs these things for our good, to refine us as through fire. He is with us in the trial. Because of these things we can rejoice and be encouraged to continue on in Him, and in our work as laborers who teach the Word and present the gospel.
Rejoice ye pure in heart;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing;
Your glorious banner wave on high,
The cross of Christ your King.