In Romans 12:9-13 we are challenged to put our faith into action within our own body of believers. In Romans 12:14-21 we are exhorted to take our faith outside the walls of the church and apply it towards our enemies and those who persecute us.
It doesn’t take too long to realize that neither of these exhortations is possible to do apart from the new birth (1 Peter 1:23) and the power of the Holy Spirit. Though the yoke of Christ is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:28-30), the road to glory is paved with obstacles such as tribulation (John 16:33) and persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). It is for Christ’s sake that we are told to live godly in spite of the difficulties that come our way (Philippians 1:27-30).
It is so important to keep in mind when these things enter our lives that we are not being punished by God. The world system will never see eye to eye with Jesus or the Scriptures. There can simply be no agreement made between the body of Christ and the world (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Having said all of that, we are providentially placed by the Father to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:19-21) in the midst of a crooked and perverse world (Philippians 2:14-15). A faithful saint under pressure can impact others in a very powerful way, just as Stephen’s witness must have influenced Saul (Acts 7:55-60).