“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ “
There is another verse similar to this: II Timothy 3:12 ~ “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Have you been playing it safe? Have you been associating only with other Christians and thereby sheltering yourself from persecution? Have you been withholding the gospel from people who might be persecuted if they believe, even if they will be saved by following it?
I know a Christian convert in Afghanistan who keeps telling his Muslim friends about Jesus. His life has been threatened three times now over a period of six years. He says, “I will not stop until they kill me.” I know a Christian convert in Iraq whose wife’s relatives beat up because he became a Christian. I know a Christian convert in another part of Iraq whose mother-in-law locked her in a room and beat her every day, trying to get her to return to Islam. I know a Christian convert in Gaza who was fired from his job as a professor because he left Islam.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). To do that, you must seek out the lost and try to save them, even when they do not think they are lost. It will end in persecution sometimes ~ you, them, or both. That’s a fact.
Dare to not play it safe all the time. Jesus didn’t.