Matthew 5:10-12 – “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
People who are consistently spending time with Jesus and reflecting Him end up being quite convicting to those who are not. Jesus told Nicodemus, “…this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil (Jn. 3:19).” When Jesus’ way gets in the way of money, status, convenient lies, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and the like, people tend to become abusive or avoid Christians altogether. How convicting to work hard as unto Jesus, even when the boss isn’t looking. How inconvenient to put others’ interest before myself and look at others as more important than myself without complaint or argument (Phil. 2:3-5). Jesus reminds us, if we are emotionally or physically abused for His sake, and we stay the course by His grace, our reward in heaven is great.
This world can take away our temporary status and make our lives temporarily sad and full of heartache, but it can never take away Jesus from our spirits and His eternal kingdom to come. Whose pleasure are you living for? Yourself, others, or Jesus? Jesus warned in Luke’s Gospel: “Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way…Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory (Luke 6:26, 9:26).”
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, give us courage as your representatives to stand firm in your teachings and your holiness regardless of the cost. Give us power under the control of your love to live and proclaim your truth in a winsome way that is not obnoxious. Holy Spirit, help us to remember the reward ahead for those who stand with Jesus, Amen.