Moreover, who is it that will harm you if ye follow that which is good? Notwithstanding, happy are ye if ye suffer for righteousness' sake. Yea, and fear not though they seem terrible unto you, neither be troubled: but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, and that with meekness and fear: having a good conscience, that when they backbite you as evil doers, they may be ashamed, forasmuch as they have falsely accused your good behavior in Christ. It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 1 Peter 3:13-17 (Tyndale)
If you have given your allegiance to Jesus Christ, and you live your beliefs, you will go to jail. It is inevitable because the world will hate you.
But why? What are those beliefs that land us in jail? Most people cannot fathom why taking Jesus as their personal Savior will land them in jail. What is the Gospel that we are preaching that makes the world hate us so?
Part of our Gospel is that we do not obtain permission from the State to do anything. Those who God commissions need not ask men for permission. Our permission and duties come from Above. If we have a duty from Above, then we do not need permission from below. And the world hates us for not seeking their approval. They claim we are evildoers and throw us in jail.
Jail time is not easy. Our flesh resists the very idea. We have been programmed since birth to fear jail and that only evildoers go to jail. It is a very humbling experience to be thrown in among people whose language and moral standards are so different from our own.
No matter how many times you go to jail, you never get used to it. You wonder what is the point of going to jail? Isn't there an easier way to make a stand? What good can you possibly do by sitting in a prison, deprived of your family and livelihood? But jail has its purpose for building Christ's soldiers.
In a few days or weeks of jail time, your own spirit will be fired and refined to become a more fitting vessel for the Lord. You will meet many who are sitting in darkness. As you begin to hold Christ up, and deny yourself, then the Holy Spirit will come and bear witness. His Light will shine on everyone you meet along the way - from arresting officers to dispatchers, jailers, judges, attorneys and fellow inmates.
Because of your uncompromising stand in jail, eyes will be opened to the saving knowledge of the Kingdom. It won't be because you are up on the soapbox preaching to them. It will be because they see within you a Spirit that gives victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. They will see that you believe in a new and mighty God that the world has never known.
Yes, jail is inconvenient. You lose the opportunity to do what you think should be done. Work is postponed or lost. But once we have been reborn, laboring for the things of this world loses its importance. Christ has not left us in the world to buy and sell and get gain. He has left us in the world to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom, even to those who persecute us.
As you read the following stories of men and women denying themselves and suffering for the Kingdom, you may think about the time when it is your turn to be persecuted. You may shrink away at the very thought of jail. You may not think you have the strength to endure jail. And you're right. You don't. But if you commit yourself to Christ, when the time comes, He will be your strength.
Paul Revere, Pastor
Embassy of Heaven