November 26: You Will Have Persecution
The eighth and final beatitude may strike us as negative. Up to this point, the beatitudes have focused on humility, meekness, right relationships, mercy, purity of heart, and peacemaking, all positive qualities. But Jesus includes the possibility of “persecution for righteousness’ sake.” This arises from the previous seven, because the forces that oppose God’s ways still hold great power in the world.
Matthew 5:10-12 (KJV), “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Jesus is teaching us that as kingdom citizens and righteous people, we’re leaders and preachers of the Good News (the Gospel), to the world and helping sinners turn to Christ. This passage is alerting us to never be expecting love from all sectors. We’re sensitized to be ready for hatred, persecution and rejection even for leading by good examples. Persecution will come from your friends, your family members, your church members, your colleagues and from all sectors where you operate. People will do everything they can to bring you down and make you be ashamed of your faith in God. They’ll try to reduce you to nothing even sometimes, they’ll condemn you to death without your knowing it and will do all they can to put you to trouble so they can kill you.
Jesus tells us to never worry about them; He’s in control of our lives. He has overcome the world and victory is ours. We should understand that those who engage in the habit of hatred and persecution have already lost the kingdom of God and missed eternity with Christ in heaven. While you’re busy populating the kingdom of God and depopulating Satan’s kingdom, they just want to stop you from saving their souls and others.
Please understand that persecution arising from your unrighteous behavior will not bring you God’s blessing. If you fail through your own fault, you should expect to suffer negative consequences. Jesus is talking about the blessing of being persecuted for doing right. But why would you be persecuted for being holy like our Father and righteous like Jesus, our blessed Redeemer? The reality in a fallen world is that when you demonstrate genuine righteousness, many will reject you. Jesus elaborates by pointing out that the prophets, who like him announced God’s kingdom, were persecuted. Note: Jesus has advised us: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 KJV). If you love Jesus Christ you must hate Satan (the world), and what it offers, then persecution will mean nothing to you.
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus, I love You and I need You every day and every minute. Help me Lord, to be steadfast in righteousness. I know, with You on my side, I have no one to fear. Help me Lord Jesus. Amen
Today’s reading: Ezekiel 27-29; 1 Peter 3
In Christ Persecution Brings Joy.