“For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews” 1 Thessalonians 2:14
The church in the city of Thessalonica was not a part of Israel. They did not have to directly deal with the Jewish beliefs fighting against Jesus. The churches of Judea, however, had to deal with the Jews who still followed the Mosaic Law. Those Jews were against Jesus and would persecute the believers of Jesus. Even though the Thessalonian church did not have to be concerned with persecution from the Jews, they did have other persecution from their own people.
The churches in Judea did not back down when they were persecuted. They stayed strong in the Lord Jesus and held onto their beliefs in Him. In this same way the church in Thessalonica were doing the same thing.
In the same way there are churches, some in America and many around the world, that are going through extreme persecution. Family and friends of believers are persecuting the believers for following Jesus. In many countries it is an honor to kill one’s family member if they start to follow Jesus. There has always been some ridicule for following Jesus in America, but it is getting stronger and more violent.
The challenge is who are you imitating? Do you give in like many do in America and do or say what the world wants to hear?
Are you trying to be politically correct in what you say? Or are you speaking what God wants in His love?
As you are getting ridiculed, not beaten or imprisoned, for your belief in Jesus, there are believers around the world getting killed without mercy for their belief in Jesus.
Be willing to stand strong and true for Jesus. Imitate those who have gone on before you in following Jesus, even to the point of death. Imitate those today who are suffering for being a follower of Jesus. Do not allow the world to back you down. Greater is He who is in you, than he that is in the world.
I pray today that God will strengthen you in any persecution you may go through; that God’s presence will be with you in trials; that you will not give in to the pressure to deny God; and that you will imitate those who stand strong and true for Jesus.