Happy Friday Everyone,
The scripture for today is Matthew 5:11-12
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.
The Apostle Paul wrote "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12 We don't usually like to focus on this particular insight of scripture, but it is there nonetheless. Persecution is a part of the normal Christian life. In fact, if we do not experience it from time to time, it is a good indication that there are areas of compromise in our lives designed to avoid it. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to the world and those who speak the truth of the gospel and live lives that reflect that gospel are particularly offensive to the world.
The most dominant characteristic of a life surrendered to Christ is His love freely shared with all. One would think that the love of God would be a welcomed trait and embraced by all who are fortunate enough to be touched by it. Not so! Jesus, who was the love of God in human flesh, was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief...He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." Isaiah 53:3 The character and love of Christ exposes the hypocrisy of self-centered living. It is the exposure to the light of Christ that is most disturbing to those who desire to live in sin, transgressing Godâ€™s Law. The worldâ€™s response to the truth of God's word, and the life of Christ reflected in God's men and women throughout the ages, has been persecution; sometimes subtle and sometimes violent, but always persecution.
Jesus tells us something amazing. He says that we should rejoice and be exceedingly glad (not just nominally glad) when we are persecuted for His sake. If we are living like Christ, we can expect the same treatment that He received here. Why then are we rejoicing? We are rejoicing because we know that just as we receive the same persecution we will also receive the same reward. We are Godâ€™s children "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." Romans 8:17 Jesus said that our reward in Heaven would be great. It is because of the hope of the reward of righteousness that our Heavenly Father gives us that we rejoice in the midst of persecution. The persecution lasts only for a little while; the reward lasts forever.
God bless you as you continue in His service.