Acts 6:41b (HCSB) …rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the name of Jesus.
Under command of those who hated the name of Jesus, the apostles were beaten and shamed in front of everyone. What was the response of the apostles? To rejoice! These were not sadists. They did not desire punishment or physical pain, but when it occurred, they knew that they had not deserted Jesus as they had in the Garden of Gethsemane. This time, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they stood for Jesus without apology and without fear of what man would do to them. We have this same Spirit within us that gives us the power and ability to withstand persecution. In fact, dishonor is part and parcel of living as a Christian and should come to no surprise when it happens. We do not desire to be rejected, but can we say that our response is rejoicing when it does? In our American culture we are often quick to assert our rights, but I wonder if we miss out on some of the fellowship with Jesus and other Spirit filled Christians when we do not endure dishonor with peace. God is so great, that as a tool used in his Kingdom work, we know that we are honorable in His eyes, even if we are discarded as worthless by the world.
Philippians 1:8-30 says: Not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance. For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.
Paul is clear that when we believe in Jesus we will suffer at the hands of those who do not. In Philippians, he encourages the saints while he awaits possible execution for his faith. In Acts, the other Apostles went back to their Christian family and told of how they were able to endure the same mistreatment as followers of their Lord and Savior–Jesus. My prayer today is not that we would suffer, but that when it comes, in whatever form, we would perceive our rejection as connection to Christ, rather than mistreatment from men.