Monday, November 7, 2022

Godliness and Persecution

‘Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.’ (Matthew 5:11 NKJV)

If you’re living a godly life, your very presence can be an irritant to some. The example you set is a rebuke to a person who isn’t living a godly life. It’s not so much what you do to that person but who you are, what you stand for, what you believe, and whom you follow that irritates them.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10 NKJV).

Righteousness, by its very nature, is confrontational. Even when we aren’t preaching it, it confronts wickedness by its very contrast to it. Jesus pointed out, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20 NKJV).

Persecution can show itself in a lot of ways. Sometimes, it’s through force. For instance, all the apostles except one died the death of a martyr. Throughout church history, millions of Christians have also died as martyrs because they refused to deny their faith in Jesus Christ.

Even in the United States, we face persecution, although not on the same level that many believers around the world face it. Persecution isn’t limited to someone striking or threatening you. It can also include harassment or even mockery.

Maybe people have ostracized you because of your faith. Maybe you know what it’s like to lose a position because of your commitment to Jesus Christ, or to be the odd one out in your family because of your convictions as a believer. That, too, is persecution.

Yet, what does the Bible say about this? Matthew 5:10-11 tells us that we’re blessed, a word that can also be translated into “happy” in this passage. If you’re pure in heart, merciful, and all the other things the Beatitudes list, then you’re acting like Jesus. And that will bother some people.

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