You are to rejoice when you are being persecuted for righteousness' sake, but make sure the persecution is really happening.

Jesus said to take heed lest the light (or enlightenment) in you be darkness (Luke 11:35).

James talks about a superficial wisdom (or enlightenment) that is earthly and unspiritual, even devilish. James 3:14 in The Amplified Bible says it produces envy, strife, jealousy, and contention.

This devilish enlightenment causes a false sense of persecution: a persecution complex.

I am sure you have experienced feeling as though someone were talking about you. Someone looks your way and whispers, Suddenly, a light bulb goes off in you head; "They're talking about me!"

You are imagining persecution.

Recognize this as coming from the devil - a lying spirit bringing devilish enlightenment!

Then the devil "enlightens" all the people in the room, telling each of them that the others are talking about them. Each one starts thinking: "I'll bet so-and-so, and I'll bet such-and-such happened."

This is devilish wisdom, and it instantly produces strife and confusion.

Refuse to listen to this kind of enlightenment. If you do what Jesus said, you won't get a persecution complex. Take heed that the "light" which comes to you is not darkness.

Make a clear distinction between true persecution and a persecution complex. A persecution complex, or paranoia, comes from evil spirits lying to a person.

A word of knowledge does not bring strife. It only brings peace and the fruit of the Spirit. It straightens out situations.

When God reveals something to you, He will show you how to deal with it.

Source: Understanding Persecution by Annette Capps
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers