1. Realize that persecution of the Godly is a normal part of the maturing process for every Christian. Remember that God is working His will in ways that we cannot see or appreciate at the time. One old hymn says, "Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free. No there's a cross for everyone and there's a cross for me!" As we follow Jesus we will have to experience more of the pains, shame, and hardships as we are called to carry our own cross and follow Him. God uses people who have shown themselves to be faithful in little things and rewards them proportionate to their endurance under hardships. (Luke 16:10)
2. Jesus said, "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. (John 15:20) By complaining or shirking from hardships, persecutions, or criticisms we are in effect distancing ourselves from identifying with all aspects of Christ. We must remember that no servant is greater than His master, but every pupil when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40) A part of growing into a useful servant is enduring the suffering, shame, and indignities that Jesus went through. This process is meant for our benefit to produce greater maturity, godliness, and insight into His will for our lives. Job said, "When I am tried I will come forth as gold." We too need to have this optimistic outlook for the stresses that we face as this will help us triumph through the most difficult of circumstances.
3. Let remember the numerous examples of people who endured persecutions for the sake of Christ throughout history. Heb. 11:35-38 says, "Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them." These people were blessed by God through His enabling grace that was sufficient for any trial. God used these great pioneers of the faith to lay a trail for the rest of us to follow. Many great Christians were humble people who when reviled they did not retaliate in kind, but kept entrusting themselves to the Lord and His greater purposes. Allow God to work through you regardless of whether you can understand all that is happening to you. When you look back on your hardships from heaven you will fully understand why God allowed each and every trial to come into your life. When we look at life from an eternal perspectives it alleviates stress and helps us focus on God's perspectives rather than our own limited-selfish views.
4. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Jesus said in Matt. 5:43,44. This may be one of the most difficult commandments, but it is entirely within the realm of our God given capacities. Remember when Stephen prayed for those who were stoning him in the book of Acts. Others declared that his face was like that of an angel because they observed the power of God flowing through him. This is not an admission of weakness, but rather of the strength that we are relying on through God's sufficient grace. (2 Cor. 12:9,10)
5. Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 22:34) Jesus knew that many who persecute the Godly are doing so in ignorance. We need to learn how to forgive as Jesus forgave us. (Col. 3:13)
6. Be diligent, vigilant, and self-controlled when you are undergoing persecution. Recognize that the devil prowls around us like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour and will use anyone or anything to cause us to stumble - even carnal Christians. As I Peter 5:8-10 says, "Resist the devil, stand firm in the faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." This great promise should give every Godly person the incentive to persevere in trials!
7. Do not fear persecution as much as fear not living up to the potentials, callings, and levels of maturity that God wants you to attain. Paul said, in 2 Timothy 1:8,9 "Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or be ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in the suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace." The greatest sins that most Christians make are not the sins of commission like lying, stealing, and killing. Yet, the sins of omission - not living up to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, but merely settling for levels of others expectations.