– William Temple
Worthy to Be Persecuted
When the apostles had just been beaten for preaching the Gospel, they didn’t complain or pray to God for it to stop. No, they looked at persecution the way we all ought to look at it, as “they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41). Maybe they understood that “if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14). Doesn’t that change your view of being persecuted?
We might think we are worthy of God’s love; but the truth is, none of us are good (Romans 3:10-12) and we all fall infinitely short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). So what do we have to feel good about, or why would we ever feel worthy before God? When the Apostle Paul was addressing the Jews, he said of John the Baptist, “And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie'” (Acts 13:25). Such humility and humbleness is precious in God’s sight because He will resist everyone who is proud and extend His grace only to those who are humble before Him (James 4:6).
More Worthy Than Sparrows
Our worth is never found in ourselves but in God’s sight alone. And in speaking of this, Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29) and “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12:6)? Jesus’ point in these verses is His desire for us to “fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
Just as William Temple said, “My worth is what I am worth to God; and that is a marvelous great deal,” since God makes us worthy through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). And if we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, just think of it as being worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake. Even so, we should remain humbled by the fact that God cares for us far more than He does His creatures.