I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
He was not an uncommon example of a Christian teenager. He lived one life outside school and another among his peers. His faith was not something he discussed or wanted anyone to know because he was in the minority. One day, that faith was exposed by the words of another. This began a series of uncomfortable interactions for him at school, and he was forced to take a stand regarding his conviction for the truth. He thought that these interactions were doing him and the Lord no service because he always seemed to come out on the losing end of argument after argument. What he had not realized was that other students were moved in their own faith because of the position he took regarding his when the time came for him to stand alone.
Times of persecution and trial might be seen by some as times of fear and weakness. That, however, could not be further from the truth. Our times of persecution for the cause of God’s kingdom are times of empowerment. That is when the world gets to see God move through us as embodiments of the good news. That is when the world gets to see the Holy Spirit in action as it carries us through that which might seem impossible or unbearable. It is a time of great testimony, and we know that the purpose of any testimony is to draw the lost. When we cannot, that is when God shows that He can. It is through the trial that we are built and transformed, and that example can be critical for those who do not yet know the Lord.
It is our privilege to suffer trials and persecution for the sake of the Gospel message. It is an amazing thing to see God manifest his power and glory through us in those times. We can tell people about the Lord as sincerely and fervently as possible, but there will come a time when we must show them God. He creates the opportunity for us to be a living representation of the Gospel. We need only listen and obey the call. We can carry no greater honor than that of being God’s representatives in this world. That role may be painful, but the pain is well worth the power if God can move a heart through our suffering. Father, we ask that You give us opportunities to be used in this way that our trials would be a testimony which bears fruit for your kingdom.