If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Pet. 4:14)
ALIMJAN WAS AN ACTIVE CHURCH MEMBER who was planting fruit trees in his grove when he was arrested for “harming national security.” The Chinese government accused him of “preaching Christianity among the people of Uyghur” and sentenced him to fifteen years in prison. This is the maximum sentence in China for “divulging state secrets.” They confiscated everything he owned and left his wife and two children to fend for themselves.
Prison life is very hard for Alimjan. He is denied any access to the Scriptures. His once jet-black hair is now streaked with gray. His wife struggles to feed and clothe their two children on her own. The family has been forced to move several times because of the political pressure associated with Alimjan’s arrest—and there seems to be no relief in sight.
What is the insult here? It is that this quiet farmer was labeled a threat to national security because of his unwavering belief in Christ. Authoritarian regimes are threatened by the gospel because those who believe it are unintimidated by governing powers, many of whom threaten significant losses as a consequence of noncompliance with their demands.
Do not be afraid when people reject you because of your faith, because the Spirit of God dwells within you. There is nothing to fear, only great things to anticipate.
Identify with Christ, no matter the consequences.
Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor, and serves on the staff of his church as the director of small groups.