Few of us will ever experience the persecution the early church went through. Sure, there will be people who make fun of us or maybe even make life difficult because we follow Jesus, but as a whole, our lives will be pretty easy. The early church considered it an honor to be counted worthy to suffer for following Jesus. Are you willing to be counted worthy?
“Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully on behalf of the Name.”
The early church was full of exuberance. There was an energy that was powered by the Holy Spirit and sustained by the close community of believers. The Apostles lead with courage, and peoples lives were transformed in an instant. That doesn’t mean that everything was roses. They encountered a lot of persecution from the establishment. Here the Apostles were beaten and commanded not to preach the Gospel. The Apostles left rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be treated shamefully.
A lot has changed in the church in two thousand years. We are more afraid of being uncomfortable and offending people than we are in being counted worthy of being treated shamefully on behalf of Jesus. Our focus is more inward than on our communities, which are going to hell because we have shared the Gospel. The early church understood the struggle of following Jesus and accepted it with joy in their hearts.
Are you willing to be counted worthy of following Jesus? Jesus told us that the world would hate us because we followed Him. Are you willing to endure the shame and ridicule that unbelievers heap on you? We should expect it and consider it a badge of honor when it happens. Satan doesn’t mess with those who pose no threat to him. He goes after those who are making a difference.