“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
They are Hebrews? So am I! They are Israelites? So am I! They are descendants of Abraham? So am I! 23 Are they [ministering] servants of Christ (the Messiah)? I am talking like one beside himself, [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death. 24 five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; 25 three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have spent [adrift] on the deep; 26 Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety]; 27 In toil and hardship, watching often [through sleepless nights], in hunger and thirst, frequently driven to fasting by want, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing. 28 And besides those things that are without, there is the daily [inescapable pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches! 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to stumble and fall and have his faith hurt, and I am not on fire [with sorrow or indignation]? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents]. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows, He Who is blessed and to be praised forevermore, that I do not lie. 32 In Damascus, the city governor acting under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus [on purpose] to arrest me, 33 And I was [actually] let down in a [rope] basket or hamper through a window (a small door) in the wall, and I escaped through his fingers. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 AMP
After God dramatically got Paul’s attention, on the road to Damascus, Paul gave his whole life into God’s hands. He was totally committed and radically sold out to obeying God and spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ far and wide. However, the price he paid was intense persecution and many other hardships, so much so that he almost died on several occasions. There is no biblical evidence that he had an eye disease as some people have claimed. Paul, himself, never mentions it when he tells us of all the things he suffered for the Gospel’s sake. However, what he did suffer was bad enough! And yet, he was so committed to his Lord and Savior that absolutely nothing he went through could stop him from fulfilling the call of God on his life.
Matthew 13:21 and Mark 4:17 tell us that persecution comes on account of the Word. The devil will try anything to stop the Word of God in your life. He will attack you directly through circumstances and indirectly through other people.
Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves. 17 Be on guard against men [whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God]; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues, 8 And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a witness to bear testimony before them and to the Gentiles (the nations). 19 But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to say will be given you in that very hour and moment, 20 For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will take a stand against their parents and will have them put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the end will be saved [from spiritual disease and death in the world to come]. 23 When they persecute you in one town [that is, pursue you in a manner that would injure you and cause you to suffer because of your belief], flee to another town; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master. 25 It is sufficient for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant or slave like his master. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub [master of the dwelling], how much more will they speak evil of those of His household. 6 So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna). Matthew 10:16-28 AMP
Jesus was persecuted to death. We, His servants, are not better than Him. The reason they hated and persecuted Jesus is the same reason they hate and persecute His disciples. You need to realize that you are in God’s hands and He will take care of you. Jesus endured the death of the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). If you have a revelation of the joy that is set before you, you will not hesitate to obey God in spite of the threat of persecution, and even death, for the Gospel’s sake.