Persecution should come as no surprise to those who seek first the Kingdom of God, because that kind of singlehearted pursuit for things Above will only antagonize those earthly-minded folk who cannot comprehend that level of Righteousness where Jesus is really All and Everything.
Persecution for the sake of that all-encompassing Righteousness, that universal dominion of Christ on His Throne, is the best proof we could possibly give that we really are kings and priests. The depth of our sufferings reveals the depth of our relationship with God, and if our suffering is light then our relationship is certainly shallow. When we can take up the Cross daily and follow after Christ then the centurions of this world will be able to look at us and say, “Surely this person is a son or daughter of God. Not only do they represent Him with their life, they represent Him with their death.”