Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
“Persecuted” is a funny word, because often Christians go straight to the worst possible conclusion – death. When we hear this word, we think of people who were persecuted in the Bible, and therefore think of crucifixion, stoning, being beaten…. Because of this, often we do not look at our lives honestly or realistically to see whether or not we are following this beatitude.
To be persecuted can mean those things, but can also mean “to be treated unfairly, to be punished, mocked, harassed.” Are there moments in your life when you choose to do what God says and not what other people say? Have you been mocked or made fun of because you decide to obey God’s Word rather than the people or culture around you?
Let’s be honest – most of us have made compromises over the years that should appall us. We watch or listen to things that our culture says is “Okay” but that contradicts God’s Word. Paul Tripp asks a great question regarding our culture:
“What do you need to give up that has the potential to
make evil look beautiful?”
Sin is deceptive, cunning, tricky, and wears many disguises.
But it we have Christ, we are covered in His righteousness. We can escape the lure and lie of our culture, the enemy, and ourselves, and run to Jesus instead. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Jesus (who knew no sin) to be sin for us, so that in Christ we might become the righteousness of God. Now, we don’t cheapen grace by living however we want because we know we will be forgiven. Earlier in the Beatitudes Jesus says that we should be mourning over our sin. But we should not let that mourning destroy us, but instead drive us to Christ. The gospel humbles us into the dust because of how little we deserve God’s grace, but it also exalts us into the heavens.
If you are a Christian, it is not a matter of if you will be persecuted, but when.
AM I PERSECUTED FOR DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND TRUE? IF NOT, WHY NOT?