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Persecution of Christians is increasing around the world. Events in the Middle East will only make this problem worse as radical governments gain power. And here in the United States, while we do not face violent persecution as many in the world do, we are seeing creeping discrimination against Christians in several arenas.

Our public schools through the NEA are bent on turning our children into secular humanists. The Obama Administration’s recent decision to not defend the Defense of Marriage Act is another attempt to undermine the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was formed.

National news anchors are getting bolder about their hatred for Christianity, promoting Christians as hateful, bigoted and unenlightened.

And Hollywood continues to churn our movies that glorify sex and violence, polluting the minds of our citizens.

But before we go in to a pity party, let’s recognize that none of this should surprise us as Christians. The bible says that in the end times evil would be considered good and good would be considered evil. Jesus warned us that when the world hates us to remember that it hated Him first.

As American Christians it is important that we stand up and fight against discrimination and persecution against our faith. But we must also never forget or fail to support our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are willing to sacrifice everything for Jesus Christ. People thrown into prison; separated from their families; even willing to give up their lives by refusing to disavow their faith in Jesus Christ. It is easy for us to become self-centered and concentrate on the issues we face. But so many in other nations are putting their lives on the line every day for their love of God. I hope we are inspired by their love, courage and commitment.

As we draw nearer to the return of Jesus Christ, persecution will become more widespread. Our own nation will become more and more hostile to Christianity. When that time comes, I hope we draw inspiration from our brothers and sisters in Africa and Asia who are so committed to their faith that nothing deters them. And let’s never forget to look at all the ways God is moving around the world. Christianity in China is exploding. More and more Africans are becoming disciples of Jesus through the tireless work of Christian missionaries.

Yes, the world will increasingly hate us because it hated Jesus first. But rather than allowing that to discourage us, let’s wear it as a badge of honor—and commit ourselves to being strengthened by the Holy Spirit so we may honor God like millions world wide are today as they lay their lives on the line for God.