having determined to endure ill-treatment along with the people of God rather than enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin;
"Blessed are those who have borne persecution in the cause of Righteousness, for to them belongs the Kingdom of the Heavens.
It has struck no root, however, within him. He continues for a time, but when suffering comes, or persecution, because of the Message, he at once stumbles and falls.
and I will say to my life, "'Life, you have ample possessions laid up for many years to come: take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.'
"'Remember, my child,' said Abraham, 'that you had all your good things during your lifetime, and that Lazarus in like manner had his bad things. But, now and here, he is receiving consolation and you are in agony.
Seeing one of them wrongfully treated he took his part, and secured justice for the ill-treated man by striking down the Egyptian.
except that the Holy Spirit, at town after town, testifies to me that imprisonment and suffering are awaiting me.
And not only so: we also exult in our sufferings, knowing as we do, that suffering produces fortitude;
and if children, then heirs too--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ; if indeed we are sharers in Christ's sufferings, in order that we may also be sharers in His glory.
Who shall separate us from Christ's love? Shall affliction or distress, persecution or hunger, nakedness or danger or the sword?
So that if any one is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old state of things has passed away; a new state of things has come into existence.
Now I can find joy amid my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my own person whatever is lacking in Christ's afflictions on behalf of His Body, the Church.
Unceasing thanks are due from us to God on your behalf, brethren. They are appropriate because your faith is growing greatly, and the love of every one of you for all the others goes on increasing.
Do not be ashamed then to bear witness for our Lord and for me His prisoner; but rather share suffering with me in the service of the Good News, strengthened by the power of God.
As a good soldier of Christ Jesus accept your share of suffering.
and the persecutions and sufferings which I have endured; the things which happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. You know the persecutions I endured, and how the Lord delivered me out of them all.
But continually recall to mind the days now past, when on being first enlightened you went through a great conflict and many sufferings.
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tried by temptation, they were killed with the sword. They went from place to place in sheepskins or goatskins, enduring want, oppression and cruelty.
Here on earth you have lived self-indulgent and profligate lives. You have stupefied yourselves with gross feeding; but a day of slaughter has come.
Rejoice triumphantly in the prospect of this, even if now, for a short time, you are compelled to sorrow amid various trials.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not found mercy, but now you have.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at finding that that scorching flame of persecution is raging among you to put you to the test--as though some surprising thing were accidentally happening to you.
She has freely glorified herself and revelled in luxury; equally freely administer torment to her, and woe. For in her heart she boasts, saying, 'I sit enthroned as Queen: no widow am I: I shall never know sorrow.'