Andrew Murray said, "...pleasures and occupations of this world, its literature and its culture, are unceasingly and most insidiously seeking to undermine the influence of the better and abiding possession."
Adam Clarke writes, "It appears from this, and indeed from some parts of the Gospel history, that the first believers in Judea were greatly persecuted; our Lord's crucifixion, Stephen's martyrdom, the persecution that arose after the death of Stephen, (Acts 8:1), Herod's persecution, (Acts 7:1) in which James was killed, and the various persecutions of St. Paul, sufficiently show that this disposition was predominant...'a great combat or contention of sufferings.' Here we have an illusion to the combats at the Grecian games, or to exhibitions of gladiators at the public spectacles (where Christians faced lions or gladiators and were killed as a form of entertainment). 'Ye were made a gazing-stock' Ye were exhibited as wild beasts and other shows at the theatres."
"It appears, from I Thess. 2:14-15, that the Churches of God in Judea were greatly persecuted, and that they behaved with courage and constancy in their persecutions. When any victim of persecuting rage was marked out, the rest were prompt to take his part, and acknowledge themselves believers in the same doctrine for which he suffered. This was a noble spirit; many would have slunk into a corner, and put off the marks of Christ, that they might not be exposed to affliction on this account."
"'Took joyfully the spoiling of your goods' They were deprived of their inheritances, turned out of their houses, and plundered of their goods; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented."
"'Cast not away therefore your confidence.' "Your liberty of access to God; your title and right to approach His throne...'Do not throw it away,' neither men nor devils can take it from you, and God will never deprive you of it if you continue to be faithful. There is a reference to cowardly soldiers, who throw away their shields, and run away from the battle...The Lacedemonian women, when they presented the shields to their sons going to battle, were accustomed to say: 'Either bring this back, or be brought back upon it;' alluding to the custom of bringing back a slain soldier on his own shield, a proof he had preserved it to the last, and had been faithful to his country...What say the oracles of God to us? 'Cast not away your confession of faith.' This is your shield; keep it, and it will ever be your sure defense; for by it you will quench every fiery dart of the wicked one...I say to each of my children: This faith, thy father, by the grace of God, hath always kept; keep thou it also, or thou must expect to perish! May this be received both as a warning and an encouragement!"
You would have to be blind to not realize the world wide persecution of Christians. Pray for them.