God saved me, and from a life of drug addiction! I was excited and free – so WHY then were my best friends saying I was a hypocrite?
“Ever since Kris became Christian he thinks he is better than us” is the statement that I heard through other friends. I did not understand. Actually, all I wanted was for my friends to know this Good News of Jesus so that they could know real freedom. But instead, I was being persecuted for giving my life to Jesus!?
Honestly, the persecution was horrible, and it felt like I was emotionally shattered.
But – I discovered a treasure in that season.
Persecution pushed me closer to Jesus. It pushed me into a deeper understanding of the Gospel. God revealed His nature to me and who I was in Christ. I was FILLED with the Holy Spirit.
WHEN GOD REVEALED THIS TREASURE TO ME – I WAS FILLED WITH JOY!
I HAD PEACE AND I UNDERSTOOD MY RIGHTEOUSNESS.
I became bold because of Holy Spirit in me and all I wanted to talk about was Jesus. After a while I was in a space where I could go back to clubs and start sowing Kingdom seeds into the hearts of my friends. People used to think I was on a high. And, when they would ask me what drugs I had taken, I would simply say “Nothing. I’m filled with Holy Spirit. Jesus has changed me”. Even in the midst of that, some would still persecute me BUT I have seen some friends come to know Jesus (even those who had 100% denied Jesus).
“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”
Acts 11:19-21 NIV
Dr Luke reminds us of the persecution that has happened in Acts 7 and 8. Although troubles/pain/trauma came, the Gospel spread. Not only to Jews, but also Greeks. This is incredible because people who never knew God, now got to hear the Gospel and received the Holy Spirit.
They gained –
Righteousness, Peace & Joy from the Gospel.
So when I face trials I can have joy in the midst of them..
Why? Because I’m right with God, it doesn’t matter who is against me
or who persecutes me.
No matter what trials you are facing, whether it is death, persecution, or just hard knocks of life in general… take courage in the FACT that God is good. He will make a way and work all things for the good of those that love Him… Then those around us will encounter Jesus, others will encounter the Gospel, because of our trials.
Seek the treasures of the Kingdom.
Kris van den Berg